Boys soccer team writes apologies to football players after dropping rope during tug of war

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Every student at the school gathered in the gymnasium for the first pep rally of the year at the beginning of this October. The traditional festivities led up to the annual tug of war competition between sports teams. This year, however, the usually tame competition resulted in conflict. The tug of war was set up in brackets.

The first boys bracket was football versus crew; football took the victory. Then soccer went against cross country; soccer took the victory.

Since there are only four boys sports teams in the fall, the final competition would be between soccer and football. As the soccer kids approached the rope, they felt weary of their chances. “We were up against the football team … it was [going to be] an obvious loss,” said boys soccer team member, junior, Kalen Martin.

At the last minute, their tug of war group decided it would be better just to let go of the rope, instead of giving it a chance. “We didn’t want to hurt anyone … [but] we thought it would be a practical joke to drop it last second and have them all fall back,” said Martin. “That would be the end of it. They’d win.”

At the time they didn’t think anything of it. Sophomore Zack Lombardo, another soccer team member, wasn’t on the rope. He said that after the rope was dropped, “[the football players] were laughing and celebrating because they won.”

This “practical joke” didn’t settle well with the athletic director, Elisha DeJesus. “The boys soccer team dropping the rope on purpose does not show good sportsmanship,” DeJesus said. “There could have been a lot of things that went wrong.”

After the pep rally, DeJesus, along with the coach of the boys soccer team, had a talk with the soccer players about this issue. They wanted to make sure that the players realized that their actions were not up to par with the ideals of the athletics department and that what they did could have had serious consequences. Not all of the football players were content with the soccer players actions. “It was kind of annoying,” said senior football player Tavien Harris. “Someone could have gotten hurt.”

DeJesus thought that a good way for the soccer players to learn from their mistake would be to have them write letters of apologies to the football players. “We all make poor decisions sometimes, but the biggest thing for us is that we process with you guys and that you can learn from [those decisions],” said DeJesus.

According to Martin, the soccer players had to explain “why they were sorry, why it wasn’t safe, and why it wouldn’t happen again.”

The soccer coach and Dejesus also agreed that in order to teach a lesson, they would have captain Connor Vogel sit out for that night’s game.

Some of the soccer kids said they were annoyed by this, but they seemed to be able to see where they went wrong. Martin said, “I think it was blown a little out of perspective … but, I understand where Ms. DeJesus is coming from.”

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