The Ridgefield Academy honored our Grade 8 athletes and reflected on the 2019-2020 year in sports during the virtual Athletic Ceremony, which was held on June 3.
Athletics is an integral and required part of an Upper School student’s overall educational experience at Ridgefield Academy. Our athletic program offers excellent opportunities to reinforce the core values in our school’s mission – respect, empowerment, and responsibility – while also assisting in student development and team building. While fall and winter sports enjoyed a typical rhythm this year, the spring season was changed abruptly due to the pandemic. Athletic Director Beth MacInnes spoke directly to this heartbreaking loss of the baseball, softball, lacrosse and cross country seasons.
“Sports is a personal identity to a lot of you. We are in a highly unusual time. You have lost your spring season, missed professional sports, and missed connecting on the field with teammates. I’ve heard people say, ‘March 12. The Day Sports Stopped.’ Well, sports will come back and some already have. It will be important for you 6th, 7th and 8th graders to remember this time in your life. How did you grow? What did you learn? How have you changed? Have your priorities shifted? Look for lessons and learn from them. Take that learning and move forward. Move forward with a deeper appreciation of all that’s important to you. And when you finally get back on the field, court, or course, it will be that much sweeter,” said Ms. MacInnes.
Winning is naturally a goal of our teams’ efforts, but the standards of good sportsmanship and enjoyment of physical activity take precedence at all times. This is often observed and commented on by coaches and athletic directors of competitor schools. “Time and time again, coaches and athletic directors reach out to me to compliment what they see in our athletes. Beyond talent and competitiveness, they comment on your kindness and sportsmanship. They comment on how they are welcomed graciously onto our campus by you, whether it’s running players up to show them where the bathroom is or complimenting an opponent on the field,” said Ms. MacInnes as she commended the Grade 6-8 athletes for representing RA so well.
Coach Brendan Carney reflected on some great moments in RA sports. The 2019-2020 year marked the inaugural RA flag football team. The field hockey team, which began as a Grade 5 club, rose to an undefeated season. The fencing team competed for the first time at Fairfield Fencing Academy. These are just a few of the moments that fill us with Patriot pride.
A highlight of the Athletic Ceremony is the awarding of the Patriot Pride Award. This is given in recognition of a coach or a teacher who goes above and beyond in the support of the athletic department and the student athletes. This year’s Patriot Pride award was given to Basil Kolani, director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Mr. Kolani proved to be RA’s #1 Fan as he attended almost every game and even stepped in to coach basketball when Coach Carney was injured. He also coached baseball this spring.
“There is no stopping this man when it comes to the love of this school,” said Grade 8 student Eleanor T. as she introduced the winner.
The Grade 8 students were honored individually with a “Who is that Awesome 8th Grader?” presentation. The ceremony ended with a slide show recap of the 2019-2020 sports season, compiled by Technology Coordinator and Coach Alex Curry.
Learn more about RA’s athletic program here.