UIL Sports Split Hits Orchestra and Band Hard

Jordan Jewell, Managing Editor

Next year will see LASA and LBJ splitting their UIL sports teams in preparation for LASA’s eventual move to their own campus. Both the fine arts-based UIL teams and the sports-based UIL teams have their own cultures and communities which will be disrupted by the split in different ways.

Depending on the ratio of LASA to LBJ students on the teams, the sports program split will affect each sport in individual ways. Senior varsity soccer player Melina Takvorian said that while the junior varsity soccer team has a strong mix of LASA and LBJ students, the varsity team consists of majority LASA students.

“Most of the LBJ students play club because they have very little experience in soccer but they have an interest, and that’s why they join,” Takvorian said. “I think [having a LASA only team] will make soccer more competitive next year because there will be fewer people of a diverse range of skills. Everyone will expect a certain level of play that in the past hasn’t been expected because not everyone has had the same background. I believe it will cause a more intense team overall.”

According to junior Zack Disler, a sousaphone player for the LBJ Band, the demographic shift may not be as imminent for the fine arts teams, as they will still be staying together next year. However, he believes it is still a very real consideration, especially when fine arts splits in the 2021-2022 school year.“The split is going to be especially tough on the LBJ students,” Disler said. “Since there will only be about 20 or so of them in comparison to the 100 or so LASA students that are in the band, LASA isn’t going to be as affected as LBJ will. But for the LBJ students, as far as I know, many of them are planning to quit the band just because they know the band won’t be able to compete at the same level as the LASA band. They just don’t want to try anymore.”

Senior and orchestra honors member Julia Vance said that once LASA moves to its own campus and has its own orchestra, LBJ will likely be left with a smaller UIL team than before. She believes this will affect the orchestra’s overall morale in a negative way.

“After the split, I think the orchestra will still do well at competitions, but the community will be hurt,” Vance said. “We will have just lost a bunch of our family. We had at one point an orchestra mariachi group that was mainly made up of LBJ kids and I don’t know if that will continue.”

Preserving a sense of community is a priority in the band as well, according to Disler. With students from all grades being separated, some students who have known each other for years will suddenly be separated.

¨It’s definitely going to hurt people in the band because they are going to lose friends that they had in LBJ,” Disler said. “In the band, it’s not only school lines, but it’s also just who you hang out with based on what section you’re in. People have grown very close friendships with people from LBJ or LASA, so the split is going to be rough because it’s just going to be tearing people apart.”

The split is a more present concern while sharing the same campus, according to Takvorian. Until LASA moves to Eastside High School in 2021 and has its own individual campus, both the new LBJ and LASA sports team will have to share the same facilities.

“I think that splitting the teams while they’re in the same school is going to create problems,” Takvorian said. “There already exists the underlying tension that I think everyone can relate to at LASA and LBJ just by stereotypes, and I think that the separating of teams will not help that whatsoever.”

The aftermath of the split has yet to be seen, but what is certain, according to Vance, is that it will disrupt the orchestra’s traditionally warm community.

“All of the kids make orchestra special in their own way,” Vance said. “So losing LBJ is really going to suck. I’m glad that orchestra isn’t splitting up next year. I get the rationale for splitting up the sports, but I wish we didn’t have to split up at all.”