Play ball! Athletics, no matter where, benefit participants


Photo Courtesy of Sandra Max

WCHS sophomore Aida Sadjadpour helps to defeat Poolsville High School 3-1 during this WCHS soccer game. Sadjadpour plays soccer for WCHS’s girls varsity team.

By Rebecca Dean, Staff Writer

When most WCHS students think about sports, they picture students wearing the WCHS blue, green and white as they defeat opposing schools. But this isn’t the reality for some students. Many WCHS students play sports outside of school, and there are some important differences between school sports and recreational sports that countless students fail to acknowledge.

Karen Haddad is a sophomore at WCHS who plays on the girls’ junior varsity basketball team. To her, school and recreational sports can be incredibly different.

“I think that the major difference between school sports and recreational sports is that recreational sports are more intense,” Haddad said. “There’s a lot more travel and the schedules for recreational sports often don’t coincide with school schedules like school sports do.”

Haddad has been playing basketball for seven years, and in that time she’s considered joining outside-of-school teams many times, even occasionally playing in summer leagues.

“I have definitely considered playing basketball on a recreational team, but sometimes it can be hard to organize with school,” Haddad said. “I think that recreational teams tend to be intense in a good way, it’s a great way to challenge yourself.”

Aida Sadjadpour can corroborate this information. Sadjadpour is a sophomore at WCHS who plays on both the girls’ varsity soccer team as well as for the Football Club Girls and Boys Center of Excellence outside of school. For Sadjadpour, there are some major differences between the two.

“A major difference I see when I play for WCHS is that my teammates are my classmates, so it is much easier,” Sadjadpour said. “Playing outside of school is also much more intense and there is more traveling.”

The major difference between school sports and recreational sports is the amount of traveling. Most recreational teams travel often during their seasons. These trips often don’t coincide well with school in the way that school sports do.

“For the Football Club Girls and Boys Center of Excellence I went to Las Vegas for five days,” Sadjadpour said. “It was really hot and dry there, and I met some interesting people. I played four 80-minute games for the full time. Games like that are much more intense than certain WCHS games. Going back to school was a hard adjustment.”

Due to the scheduling conflicts that often occur as well as the increased intensity of the sports, students often miss a lot of school. Making up assignments can be incredibly difficult, and students often struggle to balance schoolwork and playing a recreational sport.

“I balance school and soccer by closely keeping track of my assignments and trying to use my time efficiently, but sometimes it can be challenging,” Sadjadpour said.

Despite the struggles, many students still look forward to playing sports because so many good memories can be formed. Having great teammates and winning games helps to motivate students.

“My favorite memory from soccer is probably winning the state semi-final in penalty kicks,” Sadjadpour said. “It made me feel really close to my team and proud of myself.”

Although sports outside of school can be intimidating, students shouldn’t be scared to try out. For many, sports are a great way to meet new people and improve their skills.

“I would say to someone who plans on trying out for a school sport or a recreational sport for the first time not to be scared,” Sadjadpour said. “By the end of the season, you’re sure to make some good friends and have lots of fun!”