By Annisa Ahmed
Whether it is a trove of the SLA baseball team clearing tables and chairs from the center of the café for a pre-practice warm-up or Ultimate Frisbee players running through the halls on a rainy day, students who play sports here have always had to do extra to be ready for game day.
There are no gyms within the institution, no fields to our name. Physical Education, a mandatory class for those students who do not compete on a team, is held the fitness room. Time and time again, a cacophony of footsteps and huffing hollers can be heard outside one’s classroom on any given afternoon.
It is not as of SLA wants to do this. Baseball Coach Douglas Herman explained it rather well. “Generally speaking, high school sports have been underfunded and under supported in this city for long time,” which makes sense considering how royally broke the SDP is.
There were once plans to build a gymnasium on the roof, but that pipe dream was quickly tossed away thanks to the restrictions in place, as stated by the School District and the lease that indicates this building is not entirely our own.
Teams have been working around this in their own. Before finally securing a field in Mount Airy, the baseball team practiced on patches of grass wherever until setting up camp at the 44th and Haverford. “I actually hated changing field,” commented Senior Nick Manton. “Baseball is all about consistency and switching up things as often as we do ruins our grove”
Their first game is to be played at Mount Airy. The date for the match is April 2nd and the opponent is Martin Luther King High School, appropriate considering the fact that everyone has been seething since last year’s kerfuffle. Our team will finally get a chance to harness the power of a home field advantage.
Nevertheless, it is still frustrating for everyone, including the Principal of Science Leadership Academy Chris Lehmann. There is no question about the inability for students going to school without a place to play. “On a very basic level, kids deserve a place to play.”
But no matter what it is for, students who want to play competitively here make it happen. “For a school which has no fields, no gyms, no nothing, our sports teams are incredibly resourceful,” said Lehmann.
Kids from the frisbee teams come to a staggering hour and forty-five minutes to clock in the much needed training and Herman and his crew stay after school until five or six at the latest.
Their desire to play is the single biggest testament to how much students at SLA and nothing will stand in their way as they have previously demonstrated to us all. “With that being said,” jokingly suggested Lehmann. “If anyone wants to offer us to buy a gym, I’m all ears.”