Starting this year, middle school soccer players and coaches are taking the tube to practice at Canons Park instead of school buses as they have done for previous years. This leaves students wondering why the change has only occurred this year.
Middle School Athletic Director Mr. Akay Mustafa said, “We first trialed using the tube with the high school teams a few years ago. We found that teams using the tube were taking to the field around 15-20 minutes earlier than those taking the bus. We also noticed that we had drastically reduced our carbon footprint. Seeing the benefits it had for the high school and environment we then started to analyze the middle school program.”
The trial process started with a small number of middle school athletes on high school teams taking the tube. After a season they gathered feedback from those athletes, parents, and coaches. “It was unanimously seen as success,” said Mr. Mustafa.
He also said, “When you factor in the benefits of the earlier start time, longer practice, earlier return home and reduced pollution, we felt it was time to try it for an entire program. This academic year we had all MS soccer teams use the tube, and again the feedback has been extremely positive.
In 2014, an Opinions article in The Scroll was written about why athletes should be allowed to take the tube. The middle school athletics director at the time, Heidi McCune, said, “There is a policy saying that middle school students are not allowed to take the tube to and from practices.”
She said a few of the reasons were health and safety issues, as well as problems with supervision.
When asked about what has changed since 2014, Mr. Mustafa said, “In 2014 only a couple of high school teams were using the tube. This meant that we didn’t have enough data or feedback which would allow us to feel confident in trying it with the middle school programs.”
On the problem of supervision, Mr. Mustafa said that this year, there are 5 teams with a total of 59 players. There are five to six coaches for that group on a given day. “This means that on a rare day when every single athlete attends our ratio is usually between 10:1 and 12:1,” Mr. Mustafa said.
Mr. Quentin Hoad, the seventh-grade girls’ soccer coach, said, “I think it’s… a much more quick and efficient way of doing it. The bus had a lot of uncertainties and it had outside factors, like the bus company and traffic, whereas the tube’s much quicker and it’s a lot easier just to get everyone in the same place there and back fairly quickly.”