The Junior School students have been energetic and enthusiastic participants in our sports programs this term. Our focus at this level is exposure to various sports, building skills, and gaining confidence.
We started off with Cross Country running and a team of 35 runners attended early morning practices at Lafayette Park. They tested their hard earned fitness in a series of competitions held across the city. Many of our runners were consistently in the top 3 including Carmen (undefeated through the whole season), Shea, James W., Alex Wi., Isla, Thea, Ewan, and Pippa. Fantastic running everyone! Many others experienced the joy of completing the race and participating in the event. As a team we are very proud of each of our athletes.
Thea shared that “This year, I really like how there was a race that was uphill and downhill. I liked how everyone was cheering for me and it made me go a bit faster. I practised with Mr. Barber in the mornings. I learned to move my momentum forward when I am running as well as pacing myself.”
Shea shared that “It is fun and it is really competitive. I have always loved running. I love the feeling when there is someone right in front of me and then I work hard to pass them. I train a lot with my Dad. Mr. Barber helps us by training us with sprinting, jumping jacks, and lunges. Some races there is a strategy to go fast in the beginning and other times you can take it slower at the start and then go faster through the race. I like the uphill and downhill races because when you go uphill you get tired but when you go downhill you are saving energy but still running fast. Soccer is my favourite sport but cross country helps because I can run faster and have good fitness.”
Soccer and Badminton
The Junior School also had two soccer teams attending regular practices throughout the term. This is a popular sport and over 40 boys and girls worked hard to develop the fundamental skills of dribbling, passing, shooting. Similar numbers joined our badminton team who honed their skills during the morning practices. Many children continue on with community soccer and club badminton.
In the latter part of the term, we had 18 Grade 5 athletes learn more about the game of squash. Coached by the Junior School Librarian - Ms. Wilson Scorgie - herself a highly accomplished competitive squash player, the students learned and applied some great skills.
Shang Shang shared that “We have great coaches. Some are professional coaches and they know a lot to make us play better. They split us up so we play good games against strong but equal opponents. They make it all very fun as well.”
Amos adds “Squash is a new opportunity and it is a unique racquet sport. The coaches are supportive and care about us a lot.”
James also feels that “because the courts are closed in, you can see all around you. The Senior School squash courts are really nice and there are a lot of ball marks which shows that we hit hard and play a lot.”
Night League Basketball
SMUS has a long history of loving basketball and the Junior School is no exception. Many students enjoy playing in the city’s Night League basketball. Our teams practise on the weekends at SMUS and play once a week. These teams are typically coached by parents.
Isla and Callia explain that “It is really fun because we do different exercises that teach us how to get better. We also get to do jamborees and tournaments. We played a bunch of different teams. They organised it well and then we won. We feel we played really well because we played as a team. We did not ball hog, but passed a lot and everyone played well.”
Elizabeth feels that “our coaches really motivate us to get better. We became better friends too.”
Kate and Ahlia add that, “You want to do well but it never feels like pressure. If we are playing against a really good team, we run lots of plays at our level. If we play a team that is not as good, we have things we are supposed to work on like three passes, no slapping the ball out, or being a bit lighter on defence. We use those games to focus on a new drill or skills. In Grade 3, I didn’t like basketball as much and now I really do like it. For most of us, it is our favourite sport.”
Arianna and Tessa chimed in to say that “I like it because we are a really good team. We work together and are very successful. We enjoy getting to play with friends from school and in a real game setting with a referee. Making new friends on other teams is really fun. Our coaches are very nice, they teach us a lot. They teach us drills. Some of us have been playing together since Grade 3 and Grade 4.”
Gavin, Elliot D., Amos, Elliot R., Finn, and Brad also play on a Night League team and feel that they have a “strong connection within the team. It is a great way to have fun together.” Elliot D., who joined the school this year, adds that “as a new student, it was a really great way to make friends. We have hoops at the school and we all like playing at school too.” Elliot R. adds that, “even though we all like being competitive, it is really fun.”
The Junior School is also pleased to offer sports opportunities for Kindergarten to Grade 5 students on the weekends as part of our program. The coaches are athletes from UVic and these are really great connections for our students. We apply the FUNdamentals of sports principles - with its deliberate emphasis on the letters FUN, our students learn basic movement skills (running, jumping, throwing) by playing different games. The students are exposed to and learn the basics of various sports that SMUS offers. This does not require a sign up so it can be flexible and fun for parents and children alike.
Grant goes to weekend sports almost every week. He says “I enjoy it because I like the diversity of sports. The coaches are super nice. So far I have done soccer, basketball and squash. I have learned how to serve, how to score, and because I am in Night League basketball, I like to practise that too. I like that I get to explore the Senior School.”
Overall, this has been a very successful and enjoyable term of sports.
A special thanks is extended to our coaches for their tireless dedication to our students: Mr. Barber, Ms. Van Der Leest, Ms. Wilson Scorgie, Ms. McLeish, Mr. Bell, Mr. Pope and Coach Michael Barber.