Athletics at Deerfield are one of the most important aspects of the community because they teach character, teamwork, and a special love for playing unlike anything else. The crowds at games and cheers ringing throughout campus exemplify the love of Deerfield that is supported by sports. The senior captains create this culture and serve as role models to all younger students who look up to them.
As these seniors complete their last season in the valley, they reflect upon some of the most important principles they have learned through their athletic experiences at Deerfield. These captains understand and exemplify what it means to be a leader, and they will take all of their knowledge and experience to college, where many of them will continue with a sport.
We interviewed six senior captains to see how their past seasons have shaped them as people and leaders, to hear about their love of the game, and to seek their advice for all athletes at Deerfield.
Austin Philie ’19
There is one piece of advice that trumps all the others: cherish high school sports as much as possible. We play because we love it. Because of that, we play hard. Through it all, remember that there’s never going to be another beautiful green field full of your cheering best friends. There’s never going to be another 360 degree pink and orange sky down at the lower fields. There’s never going to be another Deerfield. Whether you go on to play sports in college or not, sports at Deerfield will be some of the most special and memorable moments in your life. Don’t take any practice with your best friends for granted, always thank your coaches after practice and games, and remember that it’s truly a privilege to play for the green and white.”
Bailyn Prichett ’19
The most important thing I have learned through Deerfield athletics is the importance of team success over individual success. Before Deerfield, I was solely focused on my own success as a swimmer and the success of just my boat in rowing. Deerfield athletics has taught me to love my team more than myself. Looking back, it is the incredible relationships I have formed on these teams, and not the successes we’ve had, that have truly impacted my Deerfield experience. A moment that really encompassed this was swimming New England’s this year when we managed to get 3rd overall after being seeded 8th. This team mentality is one I will carry with me for the rest of my life and something I remain incredibly grateful for.”
Kimberly Stafford ’19
One moment I will never forget was in the spring of last year when my golf team won the Newport Invitational in Rhode Island. However, it wasn’t necessarily the win that had me so excited, but this rather gave me the chance to look back at my three years of playing Deerfield golf at that point; it was crazy to see how far we have come since my first year playing high school golf. I remember those three years prior to that moment, we had absolutely no shot at winning Newport let alone the majority of our matches. From my experience in sports, I fully know that winning isn’t everything, but seeing all the hard work that my teammates and I put in finally pay off was such an unforgettable and rewarding experience.
Owen Louis ’19
Deerfield athletics means that moment when you round the big tree and everyone —the bench warmers to the best players — sings their heart out. It means that moment when you line up on the start line in front of 200,000 people and yet the Deerfield family around you still calms your nerves. It means the first moment you look around and think “There’s no one I’d rather be here with.” It means the first time you win a game for the green and white. It means the part of my Deerfield education that actually taught me who I am not just how to work hard and get smarter.
Margaret Williams ’19
Being a part of a Deerfield team is something incredibly special. The advice that I would give to an incoming Deerfield student athlete is to cherish every moment and embrace every role. Even if you aren’t a starter or the best player, everyone at Deerfield has a role to play, and all of these roles are of equal importance. Treat everyone with respect because all their roles are as important as yours. Treat every practice and game like it is your last. Because one day, it will all be coming to an end, and you’re going to be grateful you embraced every opportunity and celebrated every moment.
Javy Irizarry ’19
My favorite Deerfield baseball memory is making the playoffs for the first time last year. Even though we lost to Exeter by one in the semi-finals, the feat was a great testament to the hard work that all of the players and coaches put in all season. I’m proud of the way our tenacious group fought till the very last pitch. I could not be more grateful to have competed alongside such outstanding teammates and coaches. This season, we look to build on our accomplishments from last year and keep improving every day.