Rooting for the Home Team: Spring Sports Saturday, first of its kind

Alexander Thompson

On April 16th, 2016, Athletic Director Kathy Hudson and the Georgetown Day High School Athletic Department hosted the first ever Spring Sports Saturday. Hudson and the Hopper Athletic Leadership Team (HALT) were hoping to begin a new GDS tradition by bringing the community together to showcase many of the school’s spring programs.

Our Sports Saturday in the fall, which has been running for more than 20 years, has done wonders to strengthen the school’s sense of community, pride, and athletic excellence. After seeing this success year after year, Hudson decided that the school should try and recreate the event in the spring, another day devoted to celebrating and highlighting student-athletes. HALT’s Spirit Committee, which originally came up with the framework more than a year ago, has been a “big driver of the event” according to Hudson. For Hudson, the most difficult part of planning the event was scheduling the games so that they lined up correctly. The women’s softball and men’s tennis events were cancelled before-hand due to miscommunication. Though not all the events happened, Hudson believed that the lacrosse and baseball games would still provide a great day of fun for GDS athletics. Hudson explained her reasoning, saying that “everything we do in terms of promoting the program can only do good for the teams, players, coaches, and the community as a whole.” Regarding the day’s purpose, fan section head and varsity baseball captain junior Jaren Zinn said, “the day gives athletes the chance to showcase their skills in front of fellow peers,” and also “increases school spirit.”

Reflecting on the event as a whole, the function had decent fan turnouts, as both the women’s and men’s lacrosse games had 30+ fans in attendance and each of the two baseball games brought out 20+ members of the GDS community. Kathy Hudson said in a post-event interview that “the turnout was impressive considering that the “It’s Academic” and spring musical [critics preview]” affairs occurred on the same day.

The earliest event of the day, the women’s lacrosse game, resulted in a thrilling sudden-death overtime victory over Pallotti. Junior Maddie Asher assisted Sophomore Maite Lopez to secure the win, bringing an abundance of energy to the crowd. Asher emphasized the importance of the fans’ presence. “Fans hyped the team up and made everyone want to perform well,” she said.

Next, the men’s lacrosse team lost to Sidwell Friends. However, the game was full of bright moments from the Hoppers. During the game, the team was supported by dozens of student, parent, and faculty spectators cheering the group on. Throughout the morning, everyone took advantage of the school store that was set up on the sideline. Though there was an empty pocket of time in between the men’s lacrosse and baseball games due to the cancellation of the softball and tennis events, the cheerful and excited atmosphere from the morning’s activities did not die out. This lasting school spirit carried through into the men’s baseball doubleheader matchup against Maret, in which almost two dozen fans came out to support the team. In the first game, Junior pitcher Ethan Dan put on an outstanding performance, giving up only 2 runs in 7 ⅓ innings; however, the team struggled to hit and unfortunately lost 3-2. In the second game, the team fell due to a lack of pitching depth on account of recent injuries. Though the team did not achieve the results that they had hoped for, they received support from a solid fan base throughout both games and their performances greatly contributed to the first ever Spring Sports Saturday.

Hudson pointed out that this event was a great first step toward future successful Spring Sports Saturdays. She feels that it is “now time to take bigger steps” in order for the event to continue to grow. In order to create a tradition out of this celebration of the school’s spring athletic program, fan section heads, HALT members, spring team athletes, and the general student population need to strengthen the event’s potential by helping to advertise and support the day. Pep rallies, improved flyers, and other methods to improve publicity have been suggested to help boost the day’s future success. Many also believe that more time should be spent on the organization of the event’s games to diversify the day and ensure that all athletes receive deserved recognition. With more time and attention from the community, GDS’s Spring Sports Saturday will hopefully evolve into an exciting tradition and festivity, dedicated to the appreciation of all of its spring student-athletes.