The atypical athletes of BHS

Along with the many sports offered at Burlingame High School, multiple students participate in a wide variety of other groups and activities. These extracurriculars require a lot of commitment and can be difficult to manage along with school work. While taking on a sport outside of school has proven to be difficult, some students feel the sacrifices they make are well worth the while.

Freshman student Georgia Edmondson has been a part of the Squaw ski cross team since age nine and has been skiing since she was five. This requires Edmondson and her family to drive up and back to Tahoe every weekend. The commitment required in order to partake in a ski team makes it hard to balance other extracurriculars and fulfill the demands of school.

“I tend to miss out on school dances because I have a race and other social settings from parties to simply hanging out with my friends,” Edmondson said.

Obviously, the dedication required is enormous, making it hard to find a balance. Edmondson says she often has to do her homework during the week in classes or while driving up and on the mountain. In addition to participating in ski team, Edmondson plays for both club soccer and for the BHS soccer team. While it may be hard to balance all of her activities, Edmondson finds the pros of being participating in this sport outweigh the cons.

“There are many benefits to being on ski team such as it’s a great physical activity and it keeps me in shape for soccer season,” she said. “Additionally, I love meeting new people who are passionate about different things than in the Bay Area,”

In order to practice for competitions, the team practices by training with gates, racing their other team members and practicing in the progression park to perfect jumping form. While the commitment of this sport is enormous and difficult, it also provides the opportunities to meet new people who Edmonson shares interests with. It also helps members create a strong team dynamic and help each other overcome their challenges.

Sophomore student Anna Zarou is one of many students who participates in Spithes, a local Greek dance group for Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. This year was her third year of competing with this group, which recently placed fourth in FDF (Folk Dance Festival), an annual Greek dance competition in San Francisco.

One of the most anticipated events for the Bay Area Greek community, FDF is an annual festival which began in 1976 which works to promote Orthodox faith and Greek culture. The group spends all of their practices preparing for this festival, which is its one competition of the year. Zarou meets with the group two times a week during their season, along with additional workshops as their competition nears.

“The benefits are working together as a team and learning challenging skills as well as being involved in my Greek community,” Zarou said.

Being part of this group allows Zarou and the other members to become more culturally aware when they partake in FDF. The Spithes, along with the other groups, all wear traditional Greek costumes at this competition. This group also allows Zarou to interact with others outside of school, who share cultural interests with her. Zarou also participates in basketball and volleyball.

Sophomore student Emma Birmingham is part of Bay Pointe and has been practicing ballet for more than five years. They meet six days a week, practicing for a total of 20 hours a week, which prevents Birmingham from participating in other sports or extracurriculars during the year. Birmingham describes ballet as being a very aggressive sport, which requires a lot of physical discipline and pushing her limits more than with a typical sport. Birmingham appreciates the fact that she is able to use ballet as a form of self-expression, by using different forms of dances which provides her with a wide range of ways to express different emotions while performing.

“It teaches self-discipline and respect but also allows you to get a glimpse into what an intense professional career would be like,” Birmingham said.

Pointe (a dance done while balancing only on the toes), in particular requires a lot of self-discipline and is one of the hardest parts of dance, according to Birmingham. Her love for this physically trying sport is reflected in her incredible dedication over the past five years.

Sophomore Candace Caulfield has been doing gymnastics for six years at Accel Gymnastics. Her team meets four times a week, preventing Caulfield from being able to participate in other extracurriculars. An obvious drawback would be the lack of free time remaining after dividing time between this sport and school. But Caulfield makes it clear that she is proud of her commitment to her team and finds it to be worth the sacrifice.

Gymnastics is very physically demanding, the basis of the sport being pure strength. Caulfield says she is able to stay in shape with all of the conditioning and training she does regularly. Additionally, the commitment required also provides Caulfield with the opportunity to bond with her team, making them “like sisters.” The bonds created by sports, both in and out of schools, are very important for all students, something which can be carried throughout the rest of their lives.

“Even though gymnastics takes up such a large portion of my life, I would not trade it for anything,” she said.

Posted on February 13, 2018 .