By: Christian D'Ambrosi
Now, when I was asked to speak about my experience in athletics at Del, I was extremely excited to be given such an opportunity. But, the funny thing was, as soon as I was about to begin typing, I realized, I had no idea what to say. And I mean, it’s not like I didn’t have content to draw off of… after all, I’ve went full Calder all four years, doing cross country, swimming, and track every season, and have put in countless hours on the pool, track, and muddy ravine in order to perform my best. But then, I thought about it a bit more, and instead of asking myself “what have I done for Del athletics”, I flipped the question and asked “what has Del athletics done for me.” And I think that is what I want to share with you all today.
But first, I think it’s important I give you guys a little bit of background. Now, I was not always much of an athlete… in fact, until about Grade 5 or 6, I was on the chubby side, and although I loved playing sports, my love of nonna’s cooking was even greater. But then luckily, I hit my growth spurt early, and not only could I now eat as much as I wanted and not gain weight, but I also gained the benefit of having what was essentially a 16-year old body on a 12-year old me… in my adolescent mind, I was a mini-Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps all in one. But you see, the problem with that thinking was that it not only made me a tad bit overconfident, but it made it so that these sports were all about me. I had fun only because I was winning, and in the end I was only concerned about MY own results. But, when I came to Del, I can truly say that that all changed.
Why, you may ask? Well, I mostly attribute this to the team culture at this school. Because instead of teammates working against each other in order to be the best, as I’ve experienced in other sporting environments, I’ve always felt that I’ve had nothing but support. My teammates during my years here became not only my dedicated workout buddies, but my friends. And my coaches over the years became not only my trainers, but my trusted advisors. And this sense of camaraderie, this sense of trust, made sports less about winning and more about putting in not only a strong effort, but a combined strong effort. And although I may have only been involved in what are known as “individual” sports over my time here, I’ve always felt like I was on a real team. And be it my cross country guys roughing it out on the massive hill at the ravine, my swimming buddies agreeing to go through with the insanely hard workouts I would come up with at practice, or the track team that would run in ridiculously bad weather and still go out and get personal bests, we not only went through everything together, but we went through it as a family.
And on reflection, it is clear to me that the sports I have been a part of at this school have made me realize the importance of selflessness, hard work, and collaboration. And these are all traits that, in the world outside of sports, are essential if I am to make a positive difference in my future actions, and my future career, beyond these school walls. So, I encourage all of you here today who have not joined a sport yet at this school, sign up or try out for something next Fall. Let sports elevate you to your potential and have fun while doing it. Give yourself a chance to have the same positive experiences as I’ve had. Because I promise you, you won’t regret it.
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