The GSA teenage girls who are still into sport
Having just returned from a whistle stop sports tour in Jersey it is easy to see why our girls are still into sport. It brings them so much, and so many transferable skills that other hobbies may not.
I sat on a wall overlooking the beach in glorious sunshine, watching 26 girls from three different year groups, spanning the ages of 15 to 18, jump around, laugh, hug and take what seemed like hundreds of photos. They were not divided by year groups or friendship groups: they were one group.
Sporting commitment encourages a healthy active lifestyle, allowing girls the time away from their studies in what are deemed their most ‘stressful’ years at school. Sport shows girls how to be team players: they support each other on and off the pitch, and this collaboration is relevant across all areas of life.
Sport teaches our teenage girls so much. It teaches them the importance of organisation and prioritisation. These are girls who do not want to miss out on playing the sport that they love because they haven’t written an essay or studied for a test. They organise themselves so that they can achieve both and do both to the best of their ability. I watched as girls on the flight there took out A Level notes and read textbooks, then just a few hours later warmed up to beat their opposition. Sport brings them supportive friendships and work ethics. They show resilience when they face failures, they know what hard work is and they learn not to be afraid of it – indeed, they thrive on it.
Our girls work hard and play hard. A current student just obtained 11 A*s at GCSE alongside representing the school at 1st XI and VII sports and playing County Lacrosse outside of school. An Upper Sixth leaver also played for the 1st XI and is now studying at the Royal Veterinary School. I could go on mentioning the many girls who have combined sports and academic commitment but the list would be too long. Is it a coincidence that our girls are high achievers on the sports field and in the classroom? No, it is through sport that they have learnt how to discipline themselves to achieve their highest expectations and aspirations. Whoever said ‘you can’t do everything’ hasn’t met a GSA girl!
Caroline Treacy is Director of Sport at Woldingham School, a GSA school