While Covid-19 has made the sports year at St. John’s College challenging, the school’s teams have still managed to achieve some good results.
St. John’s College Head of Department for Physical Education, Mr Jason Pearson, said that adjustments needed to be made with contact tracing and procedures put in place to manage the different alert levels.
“It has been a pretty crazy year for sport under the current circumstances, but I think overall we’ve had some really good results.”
He said that when games were played, often it was with no spectators, which had an impact on the school community.
“You know the parents who come to enjoy watching their kids play haven’t had that opportunity but at the end of the day I think we can be pretty proud of the fact we’ve had kids out active playing sport.”
“I guess it has been a real release valve for the boys to be able to continue to play sport and be active during this time."
Mr Pearson says that because sport is compulsory for Year 9 and 10 students, he does not believe participation levels have been affected by Covid-19 too much. The biggest impact had been at a national level where some competitions were not held, but there had still been other opportunities for the senior teams, including local tournaments and matches proceeding as lockdown restrictions eased.
“So we've had a year where we didn’t have our traditional sports exchanges but we’ve also had the opportunity where our hockey, football and rugby and basketball teams - four of the major codes -still got to play against one of our traditional foes in different tournaments so it’s kind of been swings and roundabouts really.”
The key to the school’s sporting success starts with the fundamentals being taught in the institute programmes, he said.
“All of our institute teams have had good results come out of it. With rugby we’ve won the Father Fisher Trophy, F Grade and the D grade are well represented.
He says the Junior A football team has grown throughout the year and had some really good results, as has the Senior Canoe Polo team. Likewise, the Junior A basketball team “continues to grow”. Both the junior and 9A basketball teams have also proven to be very competitive.
“So, I think fundamentally the institute programmes are doing a good job with getting kids with fundamental skills starting to grow into our programme and they're starting to come through,” he said.
Mr Pearson said there were now also a number of institute players in the senior teams as well and the teams also had good coaches.
“With the year that we have had, we saw that sport was going to be a really important part of the recovery for our students and the community.”
He said it had been important to get sporting programmes up and running as soon as possible after lockdown.
One upside to the disrupted year was that it had been a compact winter season.
“It hasn’t really spread out a lot because we've missed a whole lot during term two. It's all been thrown into this term so while it's been really busy and full-on, it’s kind of meant that things have been quite an intense period of time. The boys have been training to play and got things done.”
Mr Pearson said while the summer codes would be played in the fourth term, the focus was more on academic achievements.
“Term four is about academic achievement and getting stuck into exams. With the time that we lost in lockdown and that little bit of added time we have to term four for academic purposes, our focus is to make sure students are achieving academically.”
As for next year, he said the focus would be to support the school’s teams out there playing.
“It’s just been a really different year but when you sit down and actually have a look, we’ve had some kids achieve some really good results and we’ve had some teams perform really well. It has not just been about success on the scoreboard, but how they’ve conducted themselves and how they’ve played.