The Hopkins handbook describes the importance of athletics in a student’s day. Thus, Hopkins has a three-season athletic requirement for all students. “Hopkins subscribes to the ‘sound mind, sound body’ philosophy of education.” Athletic trainers Christina Balsamo and Don Bagnall both said the sports requirement is a longstanding tradition at Hopkins and key to students’ health. Designed to make sure students get enough exercise throughout the school year, the sports requirement offers many opportunities to students, such as the chance to try something new, to meet new people, and to exercise on a regular basis.
The chance to branch out and do something out of one’s comfort zone has been vital for many students’ experiences at Hopkins. Katherine Takoudes ’20 said, “I personally would never have joined cross country or ski team if it wasn’t for the requirement, and through these teams, I’ve made some of my closest friends.” Miko Coakley ’23 is Hopkins’ first ever female football player and she said, “Without the three-season sports requirement I would have still loved to join football. Still, maybe without the requirement I wouldn’t have pushed myself to try new sports and find one that I really wanted to stick with. I’m grateful that the requirement was there to push me to explore different options until I found the sport I love.”
Sports also offer a mental break through after school sports or informals during the day. Mei Han ’20, a year-round runner, shared that, after a long day of school work, practices are a much needed chance to relax mentally: “I like going to practice before going home so I can take a break from schoolwork. I’ve had a lot of good times after school with my teammates, and I love the collective spirit that comes with being on a team.” Students also believe that the three season sports requirement gives them a chance to train and to develop their skills. Will Blumenthal ’22 commented , “I play football, and we don’t technically have a JV team because we all practice as one team for the most part. I think that practicing as one team helps the young players really grow and get ready for the Varsity level.”
Plenty of students are not three-season Varsity athletes or training in the off-season but they still appreciate that Hopkins makes them exercise. Rob Lawler ’22 said, “What I get out of the sports requirement is exercise. But more so a chance to play sports. I like the competition and just the experience that comes with playing sports.” As Han said, “I just run during all seasons so that I can eat a lot of food during all seasons.”
The three-season sports requirement also offers flexibility to students with a wide range of interests. People participating in Hopkins Drama Association shows, whether on or off stage, get an athletic exemption during the time they spend working on the show. Ty Eveland ’22 commented, “G block is super nice to have free when doing a show because I usually don’t get home until 6:30 and I use that free block to get homework done.” In addition, students take advantage of the independent athletic program to dance, horseback ride, or even work with a personal trainer at their local gym. Even the people who aren’t fans of team sports get their exercise with a quick G- or H-block workout.
Student athletes agree that they are grateful that they get to bond with their friends. Takoudes said, “The bond between the members of a team is un- like any group I’ve seen at Hopkins and I always look forward to team dinners, training trips, and even bus rides together.” Coakley also shared how close her and her teammates were, saying, “During our first game against Amistad, I had two chances to kick extra points. I missed the first. I ran over to the sideline and sobbed. Everyone around me came over and told me, ‘hey - that was incredible. You just made history! Not one person here is disappointed. We are so proud of you.’”