On November 11, Anna Zerilli ‘19 (formerly #11) officially signed her NCAA Division 3 National Letter of Intent to play football at Lake Forest College. Anna will be the first female football player to ever play at Lake Forest, and is believe to be the first female in New England to go on to collegiate football. While Anna’s first season at Proctor came to an unexpected end with an ACL tear in training camp before she could take her first kick in a game, her future remains bright and we have much to learn from the tenacity with which she has pursued her dreams and overcome obstacles in her life.
We can talk about moral victories (I’ve been a part of plenty of those…) all we want, but each time we step foot on the field, we seek to defeat our opponent. And yet there are times our opponent is superior; he or she simply scores more goals, runs faster, and hits harder. When the scoreboard favors the opponent, as it did this past weekend, have we failed? The implicit goal of any athletic competition is winning, but the way in which we compete must always remain our true measure of success. With that framework in mind, Holderness Weekend 2018 was a smashing success.
Over the past ten weeks, athletes and coaches have worked tirelessly to help their teams become the best version of themselves. They have battled through the rainiest fall we can remember, keeping in clear focus the core understanding at Proctor that athletics merely one means through which we pursue our mission as a school. It is the journey, not just the results, that effects change at Proctor. While we are thrilled with the post-season potential for our girls' and boys' soccer teams, as well as the outstanding finishes in league competition for our mountain bikers, cross country runners, and crew team, we are most proud of the effort and commitment our students and coaches demonstrated each afternoon.
For the past eleven weeks, we have operated in our own sphere, working incredibly hard to do our best work in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in the studio. Focused on our individual work, individual needs, deadlines, demands. Periodically, we come together for community moments, but too often it seems these moments center around tragedy: processing the loss of a loved one, supporting each other through unthinkable violence, discussing the hard truths around inequality in our lives. As we walk through this final week of classes of the Fall Term, our focus shifts to coming together as a community to celebrate all the good that surrounds us.
Walking down Ward Lane late yesterday afternoon, the cold wind ripping down from Ragged with the clouds scattering bits of rain and snow, I approached the baseball field. Green tarps, water pooling on them, had been pulled over the mound and home plate, the red dirt of the base paths had been raked smooth by Garry George, the dugout benches had long been carted away to other fields. The single ball I found, a leftover seed from the past season, won’t spin out of a hand until next spring. I took it all in and thought about the Nor’easter predicted for this weekend that could bring snow to the mountains and bury the field. Proctor’s baseball season barely ripples through the community consciousness, but thankfully the game is still being played on the national stage.
On any given day, we ask our students to manage a remarkable amount of independence. They are expected to monitor sleep hygiene, get to class on time, choose to engage with or lead clubs, eat a balanced diet, complete homework assignments, attend extra help, not to mention prepare for competition and performances each afternoon. The life of a boarding school student is complex, which is why Proctor has launched a performance initiative that seeks to identify ways to support our students’ optimal performance in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in their daily lives.
Whether it is the evolution of off-campus programs (read more about Proctor in China here) or the addition of new athletic programs like crew or track and field, Proctor’s institutional willingness to remain dynamic in how we pursue the constancy of our mission is notable. Within this context, Proctor is excited to share the further evolution of its alpine ski program through a new partnership with coaches Peter Anderson and Parker Spear to launch the Proctor Gap FIS Program for ten athletes this year.
Each fall, as the majority of new students take part in Wilderness Orientation (read more here), Proctor's Athletic Department hosts Sports Camp for seven fall sports: football, field hockey, girls' and boys' soccer, cross country, crew, and mountain biking. While each team approaches the preseason camp slightly differently, the benefits for all athletes and coaches are universal as skill development, fitness, and shared experiences establish a foundation for the season ahead.