Handbook

Introduction

Welcome to the St. Patrick’s athletic program! We are pleased to offer your child the opportunity to participate in athletics this year, and we encourage you to participate as well by attending games and supporting our teams. Athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to develop kinesthetic skills and body awareness while nurturing the foundations for healthy social relationships. Consistent with the St. Patrick’s School Creed—which promotes Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Kindness—athletics at St. Patrick’s also teach important lessons about sportsmanship and fair play. Last, we strive to foster life-long interest in healthy physical activity.

It is our hope that this Athletics Handbook page will provide you with information on the details and demands of the athletics program at St. Patrick’s. Please note that before beginning practices or receiving a uniform, each student who tries out for an interscholastic team must submit the Athletics Handbook Review/Authorization for Participation in Interscholastic Athletics signed by his/her parent or guardian. Similarly, students participating in intramural athletics must submit the Athletics Handbook Review/Authorization for Participation in Developmental Athletics signed by his/her parent or guardian. Parents and students must read the handbook before signing any athletics-related forms.

Practice and game schedules are available on the Athletics calendar and the Team Schedule page of this website. The fall athletics season will begin this year on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. Please do not hesitate to contact Athletic Director Seamus Brophy (202.412.5880) if you have further questions.

Offerings by Grade

Team Selection

INTERSCHOLASTIC TEAM SELECTIONS

Limiting the number of players on each team is sometimes a necessary part of having a safe, enjoyable, and productive athletic program; we do not have enough time and space to allow everyone who wants to play interscholastic basketball the opportunity to do so, and we have such high demand for interscholastic soccer that we sometimes offer two teams per division (e.g. JV Girls A and B teams). Parents should be prepared, then, for what will inevitably happen at the beginning of the fall and winter seasons—in soccer, some students will be assigned to a team with fewer of their friends, and in basketball, some students will not make the team.

To ensure that the team selection is as fair and supportive as possible, there are standards in place for the selection process. A multi-day tryout structure helps ensure that each player is given a fair look from coaches. Further, our coaches understand the excitement and disappointment that the beginning of a season brings to a substantial number of the students, and they will handle the selection process with appropriate sensitivity.

When all things are equal, we give preference to Grade 8 students over Grade 7 students and Grade 6 students over Grade 5 students when selecting the teams. We will not give such preference, however, when a younger player demonstrates significantly stronger ability. We try to construct teams that will be competitive with other Capital Athletic Conference teams. This does not mean that we are placing undue emphasis on winning; instead, we are recognizing the inherent value of healthy competition for the development of our students.

In addition to making sure that the selection process is as fair as it can be, St. Patrick’s also offers an alternative for those players who are not selected for—or who do not wish to try out for—the junior varsity teams. The intramural basketball program is open to all students in Grades 4 through 8 who do not play on an interscholastic team. In the fall, students in Grade 4 through 6 can participate in intramural soccer, and in the fall and spring, any Grade 3 through 6 students who would like an opportunity to be introduced to and practice lacrosse can participate in lacrosse clinics.

Coaches make final roster decisions on the final day of tryouts. After the last tryout session, coaches inform players personally who has and has not made the team. We will not post a list announcing the rosters, as such a list can add yet another layer of anxiety in an already anxious time. Some roster decisions will undoubtedly result in disappointment for some and elation for others. We hope each student will respond with the Creed in mind as those who make the team celebrate and those who do not deal with disappointment.

Sportsmanship/Adults as Role Models

St. Patrick’s students who participate in either junior varsity or varsity athletics represent St. Patrick’s School. When attending practices and games, students are expected to follow the St. Patrick’s Creed, remaining Respectful, Responsible, Honest, and Kind at all times. These basic principles should guide our students both on and off the playing field. The Capital Athletic Conference has strongly encouraged a change in the way that students recognize each other’s accomplishments at the end of contests to include a proper handshake. St. Patrick’s will adopt this recommendation as standard practice. The CAC recognizes outstanding sportsmanship at the end of every season by awarding a banner to the school with the most notable sportsmanship.

In our experience, we have learned that students love to have their parents or guardians, other significant adults, and siblings and friends attend their athletic contests. When attending games, adults are important role models for children. As such, we require that all parents exhibit the sportsmanship we expect of our students. We expect parent support, whether for St. Patrick’s or for our opposition, to remain positive. This positive support from parents must also extend to referees and coaches. What we ask of parents we also expect of coaches and referees; indeed, all people involved in athletics should exhibit a positive attitude toward others at all times. In keeping with this philosophy, we ask that parents not approach coaches or officials during or after competitions to share concerns. Similarly, parents must remain in the stands, not on the court or field of play, unless authorized by the Athletic Director. Should concerns arise, the Director of Athletics and the appropriate parties can schedule a time for a discussion.

Academic Performance/School Attendance

St. Patrick's does not have a minimum academic standard for athletic participation. When appropriate, however, we will redirect students from games, practices, and teams to their academic work. These decisions occur only after substantive conversation with families.

School attendance is mandatory for students to participate in any athletic event on any given day. No student may participate in an interscholastic athletic contest or practice if s/he is not in school by 11:00 am. Similarly, a student who leaves school before the scheduled dismissal cannot return to participate in an athletic contest.

Outside Athletic Commitments

From time to time, students encounter conflicts between their school-based sports commitments and commitments they have to select and travel athletic teams. In these instances, St. Patrick's endeavors to work with families to accommodate a reasonable solution. Often this means that students will miss occasional practices for one or both teams. However, it is our expectation that families will communicate directly with the school about such conflicts. Students whose families do not communicate with the school about outside commitments should understand that the student's absences from school-based sports will be documented on the student's record and other consequences may be implemented.

Uniform Policy

Students who play interscholastic athletics for St. Patrick’s wear team uniforms, which are distributed at the beginning of and collected at the end of each season. Throughout the season, athletes carry their uniforms between home and school; they and their families are responsible for washing and caring for the uniforms and returning them at the end of the season in good condition. In the case of lost or damaged uniforms, families will be charged a replacement fee.

The Procedures

  • Each season there is an athletic uniform distribution day. Notification of this day happens through the Athletics hotline and in the Thursday Bulletin. The Athletic Director, Assistant Athletic Director, and coaches will supervise the distribution of uniforms.
  • The Athletic Director and head coach keep a record of which uniform belongs to which student.
  • Each coach will have an extra uniform in case players do not have their uniforms only for that particular game. Coaches will collect loaner uniforms immediately after each game.
  • If a player needs a permanent replacement uniform for the remainder of a season, the Athletic Director will issue a new uniform and keep a record of both issued uniforms which will result in a fee for any necessary replacement.
  • Each season will also have an athletic uniform collection day that will be announced in the Thursday Bulletin and identified on the Athletics hotline.
  • If a uniform is lost during the season, not returned at the end of the season, or returned in extraordinarily poor condition, the family will be billed an amount equal to two times the current replacement cost of the uniform. If a student does not return her/his uniform on the collection day, s/he will have one week to turn in the uniform to the Athletic Director or Head of Upper School before the family is billed.

Jewelry

  • Students are not allowed to wear jewelry during athletic practices or competition--all jewelry must be removed before beginning athletic play.
  • Please refrain from having your child's ears pierced during an athletic season or within six weeks of an athletic season in which your child will participate.

Mouth Guards

  • Students are encouraged to wear mouth guards in all team sports and are required to wear them in lacrosse. Students who do not have mouth guards for lacrosse will not be able to play.

Student Pickup

Parents and other authorized drivers are expected to be on time in picking up students after practices and games. Children not picked up within 15 minutes of the conclusion of a practice or a game will be taken to Extended Day for supervision and charged the daily "drop-in" fee.

Meet Our Mascot

Known to the ancient Celts as Cú, Irish wolfhounds have been bred as warriors and hunters for more than 2,000 years. Wolfhounds played prominent parts in ancient Celtic sagas—notably, the myth of Cú Chulainn whose story first appeared in written form in the seventh century. Even the great Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, upon receipt of several Irish wolfhounds as a gift from his brother Flavonius, wrote in 391 A.D. of the astonishment of the Roman people upon viewing them and their determination that animals of such size and strength should only enter Rome under guard and in iron cages.

Despite evidence of attempts in the first century A.D., the Romans never conquered Ireland, even as neighboring Britain fell to the Roman sword. The reason for this—whether a result of internal Roman politics, the geographical isolation of Ireland itself, or perhaps the ferocity of the Celts and their hounds—remains an open question.

Wolfhounds came to symbolize great size and strength, ferocity in battle, and loyalty such that the prefix Cú (hound) was bestowed upon the great warriors and kings of ancient Ireland. So prized was the wolfhound—“ferocious in battle, but a docile and trustworthy defender of hearth and home—that only kings, poets, and noblemen were permitted to own the breed.”

Not only warriors but also exceptional hunters, wolfhounds have a keen intelligence and the ability to think independently that made them effective even working at great distances from their masters. They were so effective at hunting the wolves that are their namesake that no wolves exist today in Ireland.

The tallest breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), today’s Irish wolfhounds retain the strength and loyalty of their forebears. They are described by the AKC as superb athletes and endurance runners. And an old Irish proverb tells us that the wolfhound is “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” Anecdotes tell us that more than guard dogs, wolfhounds are true guardians, fearless when they perceive danger or aggression toward themselves or their loved ones. Joseph A. McAleenan, writing in 1920,describes the wolfhound thusly: A “giant in structure, a lamb in disposition, a lion in courage; affectionate and intelligent, thoroughly reliable and dependable at all times, as a companion and as a guard he is perfection.”