by Katherine Winton (’25) | March 10, 2023
Named Cal-Hi Sports’ State School of the Year for the 2021-2022 school year, Saint Francis High School is undoubtedly known for its athletics. It seems like nearly all students play on a sports team, which has created a strong sports culture on campus. When students were asked about this culture, they discussed the many effects of widespread athletic participation on the school’s atmosphere.
One of the most common themes students mentioned regarding sports culture was the community created by participation, not only within teams during practices and games but also around campus. Anya Nandiwada (’25), who competes on the Varsity Girls’ Tennis Team, stated that her “team is bonded through many tough practices” and they “support each other completely.” Similarly, Boladale Erogbogbo (’23), a member of the Varsity Boys’ Basketball Team, talked about the way in which student-athletes work together to “fulfill their passions and build lifelong friendships.” Additionally, Will Li (’23) described how teammates hang out in class, building community even outside of the athletic environment.
Another important aspect of sports culture is the Saint Francis Rage Cage, which supports teams by encouraging the student body to watch games and arrive in themed clothing. Erogbogbo said that having these themes and posting information about the games on social media excites people. And the Rage Cage does more than just encourage spectators. Anusha Jain (’25) said that “it makes [her] feel really happy that the Rage Cage shows up to [her] field hockey games.” She explained, “When students show up to show their support for the sport you love, it’s very empowering and encourages you to perform better.”
However, there are some downsides to the intensity of the community created by athletics. Jain said that the pressure to excel in sports can be mentally demanding. Expanding on that, Nandiwada stated that the competitiveness when there are so many students vying to be the best can harm relationships between students at Saint Francis and students at other schools.
One of the most important effects of sports culture at Saint Francis is the notion that students are improving both themselves and their school. On the topic of feeling valued as a student-athlete, Jain commented, “You don’t need to be an athlete to be valued. It matters how much you are contributing to your school, and I think sports is a great way to carry on a legacy, but there are many ways to do that.” The legacy that she is referring to is that “of all the student-athletes that came before you,” which she believes that students, both athletes and non-athletes, strive to meet by “represent[ing] Saint Francis to the best of their ability.”
Overall, while there are some negative aspects of sports culture at Saint Francis, sports bring people together, both through teams and a community of students supporting one another. The teamwork, love, and commitment that student-athletes have to doing better each day certainly lives up to the legacy left behind by past Saint Francis athletes and for teams going forth.
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