By James Barrows
Despite JPCatholic’s predominantly artistic culture, many students are involved in extracurricular sports. Every week, a consistent number of JPCatholic students participate in games of flag football and ultimate frisbee at Grape Day Park. Students like senior Daniel Sanche also participate in sports leagues and tournaments outside of the school.
Sophomore Derek Knoeferl studies screenwriting during the week and leads the flag football team on the weekends. He said, “I think flag football is the escape out of the normal film shoot, study, reading, repeat…you gotta have some sort of outlet and this is my outlet. And that’s what sports is like to most people here, too.” Daniel Sanche, a senior studying business, echoed Derek’s sentiments about the need for sports at a university, even a university which specializes in business and film. Daniel said, “I just think that [playing] sports is really important because of the competitive aspect of it, teaching valuable lessons, and personally for me, it provides an outlet to release energy, connect with other people on a different level than at school.” Senior Julius Medrano is a consistent attendee of Flag Football and Ultimate Frisbee. “It’s good to get out. Sports is another way of being one- outside and two- being with people outside of school, having good conversations, talking with your friends, ‘cause you know it gets repetitive during the week. It’s a nice little break away from school,” Julius commented.
Derek, Daniel, Julius, and the rest flag football club anticipate their annual game against the students of Thomas Aquinas College. It is the biggest event for the club. The game provides incentive for students to commit to practice and play. “Having a game to look forward to really just builds more hype around it and people want to come play more, because they know it’s for a reason and not just for fun. You get more committed people and it gets more intense,” Daniel said. Derek added, “It’s the one day where the club will spend a whole day bonding, going up to TAC, playing a game, doing a team dinner and coming back. It’s a lot of fun and it draws everyone closer together.” Derek hopes to eventually host the game at JPCatholic. He expressed, “If we can get flag football more organized and bigger and show more interest in having them [TAC] come down here by having some sort of actual field that they could want to play on….I really would like to have them come down here at least once.”
Recently, fellow students have cheered on Daniel in a local, full-contact hockey league called Mountain West Coast Hockey League or MWHL. The league filled a specific need for Daniel. He wanted to continue to play hockey, specifically to play it competitively and with full contact. “It’s a really unique opportunity to be able to do it [the league] and play on the weekends. It was really a need, something I always wanted to do…it was really something that allowed me to assert my identity as a Canadian,” Daniel added. It has become quite an event for students as they go to socialize and cheer on their peer. Daniel feels the support of his classmates and hopes that his athletic endeavors also provide value for his friends. “They come and they watch my games and enjoy watching the games…it’s a nice way for JPCatholic students to get off campus, go somewhere that’s not too expensive, close by, and have a fun time.”
Derek also hopes to establish community through sports at JPCatholic. He said “I would love to see it more structured… [A] tournament could be not just for flag football people, but for all of JPCatholic.” As football captain, Derek’s ultimate goal is to attract a wide variety of people to their tournament events. The team wants others to “enjoy playing flag football, we don’t care how good you are.” The implementation of such events takes time and resources. Daniel said “It just takes a lot of work- a lot of commitment on the part of students who want to play….definitely some help from the school for funding and finding a venue you can rely on and use consistently.”
Derek, Daniel, and Julius are just a few of the students that regularly participate in and organize athletic activities around the city of Escondido. The number of JPCatholic students showing interest in sports is increasing, and has been over this past year. Whether studying business, theology, directing, or acting, these student athletes are continuing to search for new ways to stretch their limits and encourage their classmates to do the same.
Photos courtesy of Anne Linn