As sports seasons are ending and new ones are beginning, students are training and practicing with their teams. Some students, however, are practicing with teams unaffiliated with Manual.
Most students who are participating in sports outside of Manual, are seeking more one-on-one training or for the simple fact that the sport is not offered at Manual.
Kingsley Daniel (10, J&C) has been competitively riding horses for three years at Safe Harbor Farm.
“Not being affiliated with school allows for more freedom with my training and competition schedule,” Daniel said.
Katie Dougherty (9, YPAS), dancer of 12 years at Studio 4 Dance Company is “able to learn different styles and take more dance classes.”
“YPAS is more focused on taking classes and perfecting your technique while my studio is focused on practicing dances to perform at competitions,” Dougherty said.
Some students join out-of-school sports to have freedoms with practice schedules.
Amai Rawls (10, VA) joined the Junior Development Team for Team Louisville Cycling during summer 2016 after riding 1,000 miles.
“I can pretty much train on my own time and if I need time off for sickness or if I’m not feeling motivated, I won’t be forced to go to practices and group rides,” Rawls said. “Whereas in school sports, I feel that I’d be pressured into going to every practice.”
Competitive cheerleader of 14 seasons at GymTyme All-Stars, Mikayla Minnich (12, J&C) likes how “it’s more competitive than school cheer.”
“We get to travel to cool places and meet friends from all over…everything in All-Star cheer world is much more intense…I like the glitzy uniforms, hair and makeup,” Minnich said.
A thing that most athletes love about playing sports is the connections that they make and the friends that they acquire over the years of competing.
Aven Patterson (10, HSU) has played three competitive seasons of ice hockey for the Louisville Ice Cardinals at Iceland.
“One thing I love about playing sports out of school is that I get to meet so many people that I never would have met otherwise,” Patterson said.
For athletes who’ve been competing for a longer amount of time, the friendships have only gotten stronger.
“I have been dancing with some of the members on my team since I was three so our bond as a team is stronger than any other team or group I have been a part of,” Dougherty said.
A number of sports that students are playing outside of Manual are ones that aren’t offered in-school.
“Cycling should be offered at Manual,” Rawls said. “It’s a great sport and it’s so much fun, it keeps you fit and it really teaches you about life values.”