The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


Our team, our sports

The prominence of sports at West
Lindsey Katz
At the Spring Pep Rally on March 8, boys varsity water poloist and junior Jack Brau stands with the boys water polo team. The group, hoping to include everyone — whether boy or girl, varsity or JV — cheered on the girls water polo team during the sports team runouts. “Even though we all play separate games and have different practices, we like to see ourselves as one big group who represent one water polo [team],” Brau said.

The Super Bowl. March Madness. The 2024 Olympics. This time of the year is exciting for many Americans as various sports events take place across the country and the world. During this time, die-hard sports fans and casual watchers alike can get swept up in the nationwide sports frenzy. 

Just in February, Superbowl LVIII amassed an incredible 123.4 million viewers, setting a new record for the most-watched program across all platforms. In past weeks, the National Collegiate Athletic Association held the popular March Madness basketball tournament, and in a few months, Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games

While professional sports are exciting fans all across the world, sports are particularly an inspiration to students. From Special Olympics to the school pep rallies and everywhere in between, sports events and the accomplishments of West’s athletes bring the community together, both as members of a team and as a school. 

In February, senior Norah Rutkowski secured the state champion title for the 100-yard butterfly. Her own experiences as an athlete allow her to understand and cheer for other athletes.

“Playing sports is a lot different from watching it, but both are exciting,” Rutkowski said. “[Playing] a sport helps me appreciate the hard work other athletes put in when I am watching them.” 

There’s certainly eager participation among West’s population —- schoolwide, a total of 989 students participate in sports and activities. Additionally, West High offers a wide range of 22 various sports. Boys freshman soccer coach and girls varsity lacrosse coach Emily Lovercheck believes that the active student-athlete community is part of West’s unique identity.

“Our student body is very involved, which is amazing to see. It’s not like that at other schools. People have a sense of wanting to belong to something they’re passionate about to make West better,” Lovercheck said.

A major reason why sports remain popular both in and out of school is because many people can relate to the athletes and respect their sport. Varsity basketball player, varsity lacrosse player and senior Amy Rein committed to the University of Maine for cross country and track. To Rein, sports are important to the school environment because of the support that student-athletes give to one another.

“There’s a community for a love of sports [overall], not just a love of a certain sport,” Rein said. “It is inspiring to see your fellow classmates working hard. Maybe I don’t know how to play [your sport], but I still know you’re working hard even if it’s [in] the pool [or on the] field or court. I respect you for that and I look up to you.”

It is inspiring to see your fellow classmates working hard. Maybe I don’t know how to play [your sport], but I still know you’re working hard even if it’s [in] the pool [or on the] field or court. I respect you for that and I look up to you.

— Senior Amy Rein

Even outside of athletes, there is an undeniable support and love for sports. When we cheer for different teams, the team and community support for them becomes part of students’ identity. No longer is the team just a team, but now it’s undeniably a collective mindset instead of an individual mindset. 

“Our football games on Friday nights are not just football games, but it’s also where you can see our band, dancers and cheerleaders,” Principal John McCabe said. “We’ve got crowds, parents, grandparents, family members, friends and community members [coming] out to support and watch so many different students putting out their best product. [Sports] are a good community-building event and provide an opportunity to bring so many people together to cheer for our student-athletes or student participants.”

Sports are a significant aspect of the school community because they allow for personal experiences and meaningful relationships to grow. Varsity wrestler, JV water poloist, cross country runner and sophomore Eugene Wu built close friendships through playing sports. 

“[My favorite thing about sports] is the people you play with. I didn’t know many sophomores, juniors or seniors my freshman year and [sports] helped me. [Sports] bring people together,” Wu said. “You never know what [might happen] in a match; when someone does really well, you feel happy for them.”

Sports help build up unity and connections while simultaneously allowing experiences crucial to the high school stage of life. In McCabe’s view,  participation in athletic activities is invaluable for growing teenagers.

“The school day encompasses major academic and social interactions, but it is generally about the classes you are in. While you have some choice over your classes, you do not get to pick who you are with, and it is not generally about a specific topic that you’re super excited about,” McCabe said. “In [a] sport or an activity, [a student is] choosing to do it after school on [their] own time. A sports club or activity [gives] you a chance to interact and develop close connections through a passion or topic that you chose to participate in.”

Through the experience of sports and the many opportunities they offer, sports also allow  self-development. Rutkowski’s participation in sports has directly contributed to her personal growth. 

“[Sports] taught me a lot about how to deal with adversity and recovering if a race doesn’t go how I want. I had to learn to get through it,” Rutkowski said. 

According to Rein, sports teaches lessons on how to persevere and overcome challenges.

“Sometimes, athletes can get very focused and think that [their] worth is synonymous with if [they are] a good athlete,” Rein said. “Sports have shown me that is not true and [that] you are so much more than just an athlete. Your worth is not in the wins and losses. You are a person, and that is more important. There is a lot of struggle in sports, and you are able to overcome that. You experience struggle and you rise above it.”

From local sports teams to the world of professional athletics, sports remain important in the world’s lives and help bring people together. Through the indispensable lessons sports teach athletes and the experiences they build with their teams, sports become part of the community’s identities. Sports represent a powerful part of both athletes’ and watchers’ lives that transcends time and place.

“There are few pure moments that exist where people are out there because they want to be and for something they are so passionate about,” McCabe said. “[Sports] are a pure moment where we get to see people at their happiest and put so much energy and passion into the things that they love.”

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Yein Ahn
Yein Ahn, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 1 What is your favorite piece of literature? "The Tipping Point" - Malcolm Gladwell. Who is your hero? My dear, dear sister. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Grilled cheese -- cut into triangles of course.
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  • R

    Ruthvi TadakamallaApr 12, 2024 at 9:59 am

    I love this story Yein! Amazing job!

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    Will GonsiorApr 12, 2024 at 8:17 am


    thank you Yein this is fun