An exciting tradition in Deerfield athletics began this September as Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon School established a new athletic league called the Five Schools League.
“We were basically proposing a mechanism to keep track of friendly head-to-head competition in all sports at all levels,” said Charles Davis, Deerfield’s Athletic Director. “I think it’s still rolling out, trying to be determined. The spirit of it is to celebrate every athletic contest. What we have to do this year is sort of get it up and running, get people knowing about it, and hopefully excited about it.”
The league offers numerous opportunities for athletes and schools to distinguish themselves. Championships for each sport will be awarded to both varsity and sub-varsity teams, while coaches that have shown remarkable sportsmanship will also be recognized. Overall, the new league is expected to spur friendly competition and foster a sense of togetherness between different sports.
“You could have a season that takes place and if you happen to [win] against those other four schools, sure, you could say the you’re the Five Schools League champion in sports X. That’s not why I signed on to it,” said Mr. Davis. “I looked at it more as a measure of each season, or measured as a school year. That it wasn’t about separating one sport from another.”
While Deerfield and the other schools are eager to incorporate the new league, they are also being mindful of possible hiccups to the general plan. As sports are breeding grounds for fierce competition, it is not surprising that some problems might arise.
“My biggest fear is the accounting of it. I just worry about somebody’s spreadsheet showing one thing and somebody else’s showing another account of what happened,” Mr. Davis stated.
As the fall season has just begun, the Five Schools League has not had a significant impact on Deerfield athletics just yet. Many students, including those playing fall sports, are still unaware of this change. However, athletes are not fazed by the possibility of more intense competition.
“I haven’t heard anything be brought up about it really at all,” said Steven Lillis ’16, a member of the Varsity Football team. “It’s just going to come down to the same old competition anyways. You’ve just got to play your heart out every game.”
With the season steadily progressing, the Five Schools League will gradually manifest itself more and more within Deerfield athletics, augmenting the already outstanding friendly and competitive culture.