Sophie is a junior, and this is her first year on the Gazette/GBT.org staff.
Unique sports growing among student body
Off-campus sports on the rise among athletes
April 11, 2019
Despite the usual league and school sports most athletes find themselves participating in, other athletes at GBHS discover an interest in the unique off-campus sports that are less common among students.
One of those sports is rowing, also known as crew. This sport has grown in popularity among several GBHS students who are a part of the Capital Crew rowing league based at the Sacramento State Aquatics Center.
Most rowers at GBHS, including junior Maryssa Shulz, a coxswain for Capital Crew who joined her freshman year, join the high school level crew team after many years of competing in a different sport.
“I used to be a competitive swimmer, but over the years my passion diminished and I didn’t enjoy it anymore,” Shulz said. “I decided to join crew because I love water sports and working with a team to achieve a common goal, and it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Capital Crew consists of different groups of rowers and coaches that practice, travel, and compete together as teams, and Shulz believes the relationships she has formed with her teammates is one of the best outcomes of the sport.
“I’ve met so many of my closest friends at capital crew and developed extremely strong bonds with people that wouldn’t have been formed if we didn’t row together,” Shulz said.
The competitive atmosphere and vigorous teamwork that comes with crew can be intimidating, but rowers are willing to make a commitment and work hard alongside an incredible team.
“If every rower does not work as hard as they personally can, the whole team will suffer and not be able to perform to their highest ability,” Shulz said.
On the other hand, the highly individual sport of figure skating has been a creative and athletic outlet for skaters at the high school.
Junior Ashley Yung has spent over 9 years skating, both competitively and as a hobby. She started from a young age as an inspired dancer who wanted to try something new.
“I watched professional figure skaters like Sasha Cohen, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Michelle Kwan when I was younger. I thought they were really inspirational, I wanted to do what they could do,” Yung said.
Figure skating is very different from other sports, in that it is completely individual and requires a use of creativity and elegance along with a good work ethic.
“While it is a sport, figure skating is also an art and a lot of what you do and what you work on focuses on the grace and the beauty of it,” Yung said.
Although the sport may seem less vigorous than others, depending on the schedule and dedication of each skater, figure skating can be a very time-consuming and intense activity.
Student Ashley Yung learned to cope with how hard it is to balance the pressure and dedication of skating everyday with academics.
“Skating has really taught me how to handle my nerves because I would get so nervous for almost every competition, and it also taught me how to balance such a large commitment, which included waking up at 4:15 am everyday,” Yung said.
Aside from the variety of talented athletes at GBHS, the fascinating, unique sport of fencing has sparked passion in a few diligent and skilled students, who compete and practice all year long in fencing.
Fencing is a combat sport involving two athletes who earn points off of the successful contact to the opponent with a weapon at use. Although widely unheard of among high school students, the sport has found its roots in GBHS.
Sophomore Shreya Reddy has competed in fencing for more than 2 years, and is committed to practicing 5 days a week during her year-round season.
Reddy enjoys the individual aspect of the competitive sport because she can solely rely on herself, rather than others, in order to succeed.
Fencers are definitely less common among the variety of athletes at the high school, but they work hard and dedicate their time to what they are passionate about.