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Last Friday night, the girls’ soccer team won the league championship in a hard-fought 2-0 win. It was a cool 45 degrees on the metal bleachers, but the excitement, camaraderie, and ample pizza kept our parent and student spectators warm. The newly-formed pep squad led the cheering, and the girls on the field provided the inspiration. That experience came at a time when we most needed it, after our community suffered the tragic loss of one of our teachers last week — one that we will be feeling for a long time. As I looked around the stadium, I was struck by what sports can do for a community. Last night’s game brought us together. For ninety minutes, we cheered our student-athletes, reveled in school spirit, and just enjoyed being together. We were a family. 

Sports are also one of the few places in school life where we allow students real autonomy and give them the chance to fail. Once the whistle blows, there’s precious little the coach can do. We trust student-athletes to apply the lessons they picked up in practice. And sometimes they lose. If we think of the most important lessons we’ve learned in our lives, most come from times when things did not go the way we hoped. Sports are an ideal place for those lessons and may even provide a model for what we can do in our classrooms — creating more chances for autonomy, risk taking, and, yes, failure.

Fall sports have drawn to an exciting close, so we’ll see you on the basketball court and at a fencing match.

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