Sore muscles, trips to the school trainer, and calloused hands begin to stretch across East Lyme High School as the winter sports season and students’ New Year’s resolutions begin.
This year, 334 students are registered for winter sports, dozens more train at Yuhas and CrossFit Good Fortune, and many participate in sports outside of school at the Wide World of Indoor Sports.
Exercising, especially team sport, helps students socialize with larger and more diverse groups.
“Playing basketball has allowed me to meet new people and make new friends. It also allowed me to get closer with the people I already knew,” says sophomore Adam Dickie, who has begun playing basketball in his high school.
While exercising and sports may seem difficult to get into, for the fear of being judged, Dickie described it as an easy process “Even though it was my first year, they were still accepting and willing to coach me. ”
Many teams and local gyms are eager to accept new people and are able to create an environment where newcomers feel welcome. All athletes were once a novice in their sport. According to a study done by Planet Fitness, 45 percent of people have a fear of being judged that keep them away from fitness facilities.
Annemarie Durham, an ELHS alumni, works as a personal trainer at Big Sky gym in Farmington, CT. Big Sky welcomes beginners by offering two free training sessions with a trainer so you learn how to use the equipment. According to Dunham, they do assessments to make sure you can confidently use the equipment and will modify workouts if you have an injury or are recovering.
Junior PJ Sorrentino has recently joined CrossFit and describes the gym. “They always give really tough workouts… during my first session I felt welcomed and didn’t feel any judgemental stares.” CrossFit constantly changes their exercise circuit and they rarely do the same workout twice. This benefits their clients by giving a full body workout with different styles to get the most out of every workout.
Junior Ben Hollaway has joined his first high school sport as a pole vaulter for indoor track. Hollaway was welcomed onto the team and instantly enjoyed doing pole vault.
“The only trouble I’ve ever had joining a sport was finding one I liked and being in the mindset of wanting to improve,” says Hollaway.
For students who are considering doing a sport or getting more exercise, many ELHS athletes suggest to start with track, a team sport with independent events.
“Track and field is a great starting point for beginner athletes, it covers so many different events so students can find one they can both enjoy and excel in,” said sophomore Sjodin Fedikovich.