Athletic Academies Kickoff
Charles Innes ’22 Lacrosse in the fall? Basketball and squash when it’s warm outside? Track practicing at the same time as soccer? In a normal year at Woodberry, it would be quite shocking to see any of these things. However, along with many other components of the Woodberry experience, Athletics is experiencing something new this fall: Academies. First of all, what are these Academies? And why is Woodberry having them? Well, due to COVID-19, Athletics at Woodberry and in the rest of the world has seen many changes, including the cancellation of seasons for many sports. So, as a solution to this dilemma, Woodberry Forest invented the idea of having fall training camps for sports that are either out of season or didn’t have a traditional season. Welcome to Athletic Academies. In these academies, boys dedicate four weeks of their Athletics to an out of season sport that may have a season later in the year, or even to play a fall sport that younger boys missed during the Intramurals earlier this year. Coaches and the teams have full practices every day of the week, and some competitive intrasquad matchups to simulate games may even be arranged. Currently, Woodberry is offering Academies for Varsity Lacrosse, Varsity Basketball, Varsity Squash, Third and Fourth Form Football, Third and Fourth Form Soccer, and Varsity Baseball. Some fall sports, such as Varsity Football, Varsity Soccer, Varsity Cross Country, and Varsity Golf are continuing play, as those sports have begun to play or schedule competitions with other schools in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. However, for all the boys who are not on those teams, Academies are a fun way to train and improve for an out of season sport, or even to get the experience of playing football or soccer for younger guys that missed a JV or Bengal season. Woodberry students began their Academies this week, and many boys with differing levels of experience and skill have enjoyed transitioning to a new sport. When asked about his experience in the Varsity Basketball Academy, Sam Swinson ’22 said that “[i]t’s great to be back in the gym. Even though we don’t know if we’ll have a season, it’s important to be ready.” Swinson has been on the Varsity Basketball team for the past two years and is glad to begin practicing so early in the year. Varsity Basketball may remain unsure of the possibility of a winter season, but the team will definitely be prepared for competition if the opportunity arises, as will all of the other sports that are beginning Academies. With so much uncertainty surrounding Athletics for the rest of the year, the Academies provide a valuable opportunity for boys to prepare themselves for their other sports. In a normal year, these Academies aren’t offered at Woodberry, so should seasons be scheduled for these sports, Woodberry will be more prepared than ever to face tough competition and emerge victoriously.