Calvert Sports League “Kicks Off” with Soccer, Flag Football

When interscholastic sports were canceled due to COVID-19, Director of Athletics Sarah Dennison and her team knew they had to provide an enriching alternative for Calvert athletes. They immediately got to work, developing a coed intramural program that promotes sportsmanship, teamwork, and friendly competition within national health and safety guidelines.
 
Now finishing its third week, the all-new Calvert Sports League (CSL) includes nearly 170 Middle School athletes competing three days per week.
“This has been amazing for the kids. Now that we’ve started, I can’t imagine this year without this league,” Coach Dennison said. “The kids are so excited. They talk about it all day long and look forward to it in the afternoon. They're making connections with their coaches, and it’s just such an uplifting thing in their lives.”
 
Developed this summer by Coach Dennison and her team, including Mr. Holmgren, Mr. Buck, Coach Angulo-Bartlett, and Mr. Bennett, CSL is a coed intramural athletics program that sees students go head-to-head in soccer, flag football, Wiffle ball, and more. Continuing through November 6, the CSL provides eight weeks of exercise and friendly competition for Calvert boys and girls.
 
“The leadership we have here at Calvert knew at the forefront that this was something we were going to have to start planning in the summer,” Coach Dennison said. “And that gave us such a great opportunity to plan and pull this off the way we have.”
 
Like the rest of The School, the CSL follows a layered approach to COVID safety, and the program was specifically designed with student health and wellbeing in mind. To ensure its success, Coach Dennison and her team closely monitored CDC guidelines on youth sports, using them to craft a robust program that minimizes student risk.
 
Under these guidelines, all CSL games are played outside, where fresh air naturally disperses harmful droplets. Athletic masks have been provided to each student, and face coverings are required at all times. The use of shared equipment is purposefully limited, and all equipment is sanitized at regular intervals.
 
Sports like Wiffle ball, Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and flag football have also been chosen because they allow players to maintain proper social distancing, adding another layer of protection. Plus, Coach Dennison says, the kids love them.
 
“My favorite is flag football,” Fifth Grader Kayci Gathers beams. “I’m really good at passing.”
 
In addition to following guidelines on spacing, face coverings, and sanitization, the CSL limits gathering size and cross-grade interaction by dividing students according to grade level. Within each grade, students are split into four teams – nicknamed the Red Lobsters, Yellow Bears, Blue Crabs, and Purple Big Cats – and only compete against their classmates.
 
With about a month left in the program, the competition is starting to heat up. Every day, Coach Dennison says, the boys and girls are eager to know which teams they will be facing next.
 
“It’s like the World Cup for them every single day,” she said. “They are very competitive, but it’s always in a fun way.”
 
Seventh Grader Grace Holthaus, who plays for the purple team, says that she’s glad to be back at school with her classmates, especially since the CSL allows them to enjoy time together outside.
 
“I am really happy to be back on campus. I like that since we can’t do the usual school sports, we’ve found a way to still be able to compete,” she said.
 
Like Grace, Seventh Grader Toby Rosenband, who plays for the red team, appreciates the afterschool offering.
 
“I like running around and having something to do at the end of the day,” he said.
 
“I really like being able to play outside with my friends after school,” purple team player Jackson Angulo-Bartlett adds. “Because we wouldn’t be able to this at other schools or other places.”
 
The CSL will continue through Friday, November 6, and Middle School students are welcome to join at any point during the season. To register for the Calvert Sports League, contact Director of Athletics Sarah Dennison at sdennison@calvertschoolmd.org.
 
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Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.

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