The Return of Flint Hill Athletics

The return to athletics this fall has reinvigorated our community. We returned more driven, more passionate and more appreciative. 

“The first day we came back to the campus, you could already see there was a different energy on campus just because we had sports,” said Kelli Giuliani ’22

Our coaches returned with a strong love and passion for impacting our student-athletes. Our students returned with a heightened desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to represent our school in all they do. 

“This year you can really see how sports brought everyone together and how team bonding has really brought the whole school together, especially with the homecoming pep rally and events surrounding that,” said Piper McDade ’22. 

Our athletes have competed with tenacity, drive and humility. Our fans and community rallied behind them as the sea of blue and green returned to our stands. More importantly, the athletic program continues to evolve while using the lessons learned during COVID. We have a new perspective which has influenced how we teach, coach, and mentor our student-athletes.

“This football season has allowed me to reflect about my life in general — I mean, losing games each week is obviously tough and frustrating,” said Bryson Robertson ’22. “But being with my team, using Coach Peterson's motto, ‘do everything with greatness,’ allowed me to persevere.” 

If COVID-19 has continued to teach us anything, it’s that it is better to focus our energy on things we can control. We can’t control the impact of the pandemic, nor can we fully control its future. We can focus on our outlook in adversity and our ability to grow from our challenges. 

“Coach Patrice has taught me that it's okay to make mistakes and says, ‘Volleyball is a game of mistakes. That’s how the other team makes points, and that’s how we make points,’'' said Jackie Bardin ’22. “She’s an amazing coach; she’s taught me how to stay calm and confident and use mistakes as an opportunity to learn.”

Everyone will experience let-downs, setbacks and times of upheaval and disruption at some point in their lives. The majority of us will second-guess ourselves or doubt our ability to overcome a particular situation. That’s what is special about sports at Flint Hill. There are so many opportunities to experience triumphs and tribulations, and each time, we have an opportunity to grow in our response. Learning to persevere through adversity, challenges and setbacks is important to developing character and becoming open to growth. More importantly, we are embarking on this journey with our peers by our side and coaches there to teach, direct and care for each and every person on their rosters.

“Sports gives you a great opportunity for peer leadership. Whether you’re a designated leader, like a captain, or you’re an upperclassman on the team, you get to help lead others down the right path,” said Kelli Giuliani. “It’s nice being a leader on an organized squad; it just makes you a better person, and it also makes the people around you better.”

I have always been a big advocate of self-assessment and accountability. In order to grow, we must be able to evaluate ourselves honestly, define our path for growth and hold ourselves accountable for achieving our goals. 

“As a student-athlete at Flint Hill, I am responsible for time management and many other responsibilities,” said Robertson ’22. “Being a student-athlete requires me to stay on task and balance academics as well as practice during the course of a week. I think this element will stay with me throughout the rest of my life, specifically with my next journey through college.” 

The pandemic taught us that the road to our goals and dreams will not always be the path we imagined. So many of our students lean on sports as a crutch as opposed to a tool in this vast tool kit being built over their formative years. If sports is taken away for some reason, be it a pandemic, injury or something else outside our control, our students have the tools and the resiliency to find a new path to accomplish something bigger than they imagined. 

As our games and practices carry on this year, we must be thankful for and appreciative of every opportunity to play, connect, and support and represent our school. Playing sports is a great opportunity to grow in imaginative ways, and we must embrace and be thankful for the lessons sports give us and our students. 

“Sports has given me structure to my day and has forced me to be more engaged in my classes so that I can fully participate in my sports without stressing only about schoolwork,” said Piper McDade.

Working together is what being a Husky is all about. Our coaches are gems who give everything to help our students grow and find success. Our students give their commitment and dedication to something that is bigger than themselves. Together, that creates a recipe for amazing relationships, a respect for the grind of competition and an appreciation for all we learn in our love for sports and the heartbreak it sometimes brings.

“By facing challenges together, it helped the football team come together and form a sense of brotherhood,” said Robertson ’22. “We’re closer than ever now, and I’m just so thankful for my senior season. Albeit our record was not undefeated, we weren’t defeated! We stuck together as brothers.”