New Canaan High School’s athletic director said Monday night that he’d like to see more of the school’s athletes supporting fellow students who compete in matches and games in other sports.
Jay Egan told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting that he’s been at NCHS for a number of years and that inter-sport support “used to be more pronounced than it is now.”
“I think by coming up with some incentives and working with captains, to really get our athletes supporting each other more during their competitions would really be a good direction for us to move,” Egan said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.
The comments came during a presentation in which Egan spotlighted outstanding Rams sports coaches Priscilla Schulz (girls’ golf) and Ben Young (boys’ tennis), reviewed athletics participation data, listed recent championships (state football, state boys swimming, state boys tennis and both county and state girls golf titles) and laid out Athletic Department goals for next academic year.
Those will include improving the functionality of the Rams website, surveying athletes and parents after each sports season, developing a core values statement to integrate with all teams and seeing that more athletes support fellow athletes.
Board of Ed member Maria Naughton said she was “surprised” that Egan had outlined that goal, “because I feel like the athletes are very supportive of each other.”
“And with some major percentage of our students in a sport, I am not sure how you can actually increase their presence,” she said. “I just feel like there is a lot of support across the board for every [sport].”
Egan responded: “I don’t see that. I don’t see our football players at a field hockey game. I don’t see our women’s soccer team at the boys’ game.”
Naughton questioned why that may be.
“Is there something else they are doing?” she asked. “Is it a lack of support or is it other commitments? That is what I am wondering.”
Egan said he’s sure that kids have busy lives and must prioritize their time.
“And I happen to think that it is very important and I know that we can always find ways to be busy and so the kids can always find ways to be busy,” he said. “I’m not saying you do it every day. I would like to say I thought of this but I didn’t. This is a major initiative at most colleges as far as getting teams to support other teams. People go to football games here, some of our other games that are in the stadium are played in relative secrecy, and even at the championship level, that is the case.”
He used the boys’ tennis FCIAC finals versus Staples as an example, calling it “one of the most fun athletic events that I have been at in a long time.”
“And you are watching kids compete, watching their teammates support each other and you watch the coaches run back and forth to see who is doing what,” Egan said. “I just think that there are a lot of opportunities to watch athletes and I think it would give other athletes an appreciation of how hard [others work]. I have track coaching in my background and unless you go to a track meet and watch a high level, or any level, competition, you may not appreciate what that is really all about. You may not know anything about it. We had two state champions, first and second in the shot-put. So what is the shot-put? If you go and watch that even, I think you have a lot more appreciation for what they are all doing.”