Fifth, sixth-grade sports offer new experiences for students

Sixth-grade students play handball on Wednesdays after school. They are supervised by P.E teacher Patrick Severijns. The handball team plays for 90 minutes. The table tennis ASP plays for two hours (Photo by Lola Henninger).

Developmental sports at ASL, in the fifth and sixth grade is a way for students to try new sports to see if they like them, to experience playing with a team and to have fun whilst doing a sport.

The developmental sports have inspired many kids in the fifth and sixth-grade to continue sports competitively in the seventh and eighth-grade. In past years though, fifth and sixth-grade sports have not involved playing any games or tournaments against any other schools or teams. However this year, the Middle School Athletic Director Mr Akay Mustafa and Athletic Director Mr. John Farmer have decided to include a small amount of games, tournaments, conventions and or jamborees.

Mr Mustafa said that “a lot of students are being introduced to sports” and that “the key focus for those activities are to promote confidence in their own movement and their own physical ability.”

He feels that fifth and sixth grade students should be able to participate in a sport without having to feel the pressure of the results. However, he does feel that kids playing sports in fifth and sixth-grade should be given a chance to experience a competitive game, convention, jamboree or tournament.

Eighth grader Maya Mokhtarzadeh, who plays softball in the summer season, said that “being competitive was quite hard on younger people especially when most of the people on the team where just learning the new sport.”

However she also felt that if she had been given the opportunity to play against another school then she could have been more prepared for sports in seventh-grade. In addition she said that playing developmental volleyball in sixth grade inspired her to join a sport as she really loved the experience of being with a team.

In the winter season the school has table tennis, handball, korfball and futsal on offer. In the fall season fifth and sixth-grade has developmental field hockey, football and tag rugby on offer. This year in the fall sports season, the field hockey team went to the Westminster hockey tournament and the tag rugby team went to a festival in Regents Park. In the spring season last year, the developmental track team had their first track meet and “it was their first experience of competing against other athletes.”

Lyla Mokhtarzadeh, a fifth-grader who plays handball in the fall season, likes how fifth grade sports are not too competitive. She feels that it is a chance for her to learn a new sport and to get good at it. She also thinks that handball is really fun to play and it has inspired her to try out for a sport when she gets into seventh-grade.

Griffin Bataille who is now in seventh-grade, played developmental basketball when he was in sixth-grade. He said that he didn’t really like how the sports teams didn’t get to play against other teams. However, he felt because sports wasn’t competitive in fifth and sixth-grade, it “felt like a privilege” to be able to play competitive sports in seventh-grade. Bataille now plays on the seventh-grade basketball team at ASL.

Mr Farmer and Mr Mustafa are both happy with the new changes as they are a stepping stone to competitive sports in seventh and eighth-grade.

About Evelyn Snizek ('23)

Sports Editor (2018-19)

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