Mission for Recognition: Appreciating Sports Outside of LASA

Ella Lilly, Staff Writer

From coming-of-age stories to pep rallies, school athletics are typically the talk of the school: the homecoming game, practices, who beat who. However, there’s a variety of sports other than the typical ones that many LASA athletes partake in. From rowing to fencing to ballet, sports outside of school can provide variety for students.

For sophomore Erika Torri-Karch, the amount of options available outside of school is plentiful. She fences, a sport which isn’t offered by LASA or most public schools.

“There’s more options I’d say,” Torri-Karch said. “Something like fencing, you can’t even do in school. So if you wanted to do one of the smaller sports, then you have way more choices by doing an out-of-school sport.”

In addition to the larger range of options, sports outside of school can provide students with the opportunity to specialize or grow their skills outside of an elective sport. In addition to ballet at Ballet Austin, freshman Amber Wang joined LASA’s drill team this year. While it’s an extensive commitment for her, Wang loves both being involved with school and the benefits of school sports and being able to develop her skills outside of school as well.

“It’s been really fun to be involved in something for my school,” Wang said. “The dance team is giving me different styles that I can be involved in. It’s widened my versatility as a dancer.” 

Sophomore Carter Brooks started rowing last year on Ladybird Lake and says he is loving it so far. Compared to in school sports, he appreciates the flexibility that comes with extracurriculars not counting for a grade.

“You can be a lot more flexible with your schedule because you can kind of pick and choose when you want to go, whereas with school it may be a bit more constrained,” Brooks said. “It’s also just a good opportunity to meet people from other schools.” 

On the other hand, Wang thinks athletics and school can be very separate and result in scheduling issues. She said schools generally try their best to fit sports into students’ schedules and prevent overlap or issues, but outside of school, there will always be different districts with different schedules.

“Schedule wise, it’s a lot less understanding of each other,” Wang said. “A lot of schools schedule your education and dance classes more purposefully so that people have enough time to go from one thing to another.”

According to Brooks, school sports can provide another way to connect with peers. Through a fun environment, he said you can make friends at your school who you get to see everyday.

“For school sports in particular, I feel like it can help you to build some relationships with people at your school [such as] your teammates or the coach,” Brooks said. “It’s almost more convenient. You usually don’t have to go somewhere else to practice like [for] football or basketball. And then also the convenience factor is something that you get out of it.” 

Torri-Karch agrees that building relationships with peers is also a benefit for the sports part of school, as she runs cross country for LASA in addition to fencing. She likes being able to spend time with people from outside of the school day and get to know them better.

“[With school sports], you get to make more friends that you can actually have in classes instead of only seeing them at sports,” Torri-Karch said. “You know them a little better so it’s just easier to bond with people that you see more often.” 

For Wang, the hardest part of sports outside of school is the convenience factor, as a long drive isn’t ideal for her compared to just staying after school and taking the late bus home. She said the credit for AISD P.E. is also complicated because Ballet Austin doesn’t count for credit, even though some dance studios do.

“I think it’s mostly the transportation for one,” Wang said. “[Ballet Austin] is around fifteen minutes away from LASA, so it’s not that bad, but it does take a little bit, especially with downtown traffic. It’s the fact that me doing ballet for so many hours a week outside of school doesn’t count as a P.E. credit. So I have to take another elective like the dance team as my P.E. credit. Some outside-of-school sports count for school credit if it’s on the list that AISD has, but Ballet Austin isn’t on that list.”

Wang said that although sports outside of school can be difficult in terms of transportation and convenience, she enjoys participating in these sports. According to Wang, the relief it provides from school makes sports worth it. 

“Outside of school feels like more of an escape for me,” Wang said. “I don’t really have to worry about people from my school being there. It’s also a place to meet new people and make more friends.”