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“Building the Identity of the TFS Student” Through Extracurricular Sports

During all my years of school, I have been involved in several extracurricular activities. As I grew older and came to the Senior School, I began to slice away at the activities in which I chose to involve myself, favouring artistic endeavours and leadership positions over athletic or STEM pursuits. At the age of 10, I was involved in every sport the Mississauga campus had to offer. Now a Level 5, I have not been on a TFS sports team in almost two years.

This is a trend that happens to most students, gradually becoming more and more busy with schoolwork as the years circle by. Students pick and choose from their list of interests and availability to form 1 to 5 activities that they hold dear. Although the International Baccalaureate program encourages students to be balanced through the CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) program, more and more teenagers begin to narrow their interests as they grow older.

I consider myself very involved in the school, although I admit I am disconnected from most sports-related events. To gain more insight into the TFS sports world, I conducted interviews with students during the Senior Boys’ Basketball Media Day, organized by team members and LTD editors.

Several athletes on the team have been participating in TFS Basketball since Grade 4. The teammates shared with me what they enjoy about the sport and the reason they continue to be involved.

“Basketball’s my favourite sport and has been for years… The best part about being on the team is the comradery and the bonds that you build with the people on the team… And the fun of spending time together at practices and at games playing basketball.” – Hanse S.

“I’ve played at school since Grade 4. I also play House League on the weekends with North Toronto… It’s a fun time being part of the community of Toronto basketball. [I enjoy] bonding with the teammates [and] it’s a good opportunity, as a Level 5, [to make] friends [with Level 4s].” – Justin C.

The team members also shared with me information about sports, more specifically Basketball, at the school, and how it may be perceived by those who are not involved.

“I think we’re better and we care a lot more than people think. We [TFS] have a reputation, especially in some sports, of just being straight-up bad. But I think what people don’t know is that there’s a real passion here. Every Friday, we get together and play a big basketball game with the guys – like, a voluntary Level 1 to 5 basketball game. I just feel like people need to know there’s a much bigger basketball community here than you may think.” – Justin C.

Involvement in sports can be rewarding in several ways, more than just for physical health. Hanse S. outlines the benefits of athletic participation and what he has learned from his experience: “[I have] learned about commitment and…about how much time and effort it takes to improve. I’ve learned a lot about teamwork…and communication.”

Most noticeably–and unsurprisingly–several team members shared their insights about the importance of extracurricular sports as a release from academic rigour.

“[Extracurricular activities are] about being well-rounded and…being balanced. Because TFS is such an academically rigorous school, athletics help a lot in preparing me for my future. If you don’t have a balanced life, you’ll never be able to succeed. You need to find time to do things that make you happy, things that you enjoy.” – Hanse S.

“Being a part of TFS means being a well-rounded person. We have arts, we have academics, we have sciences, we have humanities. I think that sports are maybe overlooked in a student’s profile. Participating in athletics and committing to athletics is really important for building the identity of the TFS student.” – Justin C.

“I think it’s just a place where you can move away from your academics, because TFS is very academically-intensive. I think sports just helps you get your mind off of that.” – Muhammad R.

In short, TFS seems to be known for its academics, not for its sports teams. Through the IB program in Level 4 and 5, the CAS Program aims to involve its students in more than one type of extracurricular activity in the name of balance and open-mindedness: traits of an IB learner. At the same time, the IB is lenient with its students, as it knows that some may be more athletically, artistically, or academically-involved than others.

“I think everyone should be involved in an extracurricular; whether that’s sports or not is up to the individual. Not everyone plays a sport… Your extracurricular should be something that you enjoy and have a passion for. I think it’s really important for everyone to find something that they enjoy.” – Hanse S.

“To each their own, but certainly I think it’s worth trying… Give it a shot.” – Harrison W.

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