The Rumson Country Day considers it a win when their student-athletes gain priceless memories and essential skills from participating in a school sport. By concentrating on successes off the field, the game wins follow. This year’s fall athletes made victory look easy, but their accomplishments were a result of two and half months of discipline and teamwork. RCDS’ football team dominated an undefeated season. The boys and girls soccer teams were crowned Liberty Division Champions and the field hockey team boasted an impressive winning record which led them to a nail-biting double-overtime game in semi-finals.
RCDS Athletic Director Paul “Campy” Campanella says the goal is to produce not just winning athletes but students who succeed in all aspects of life.
“Winning is great,” said Campy. “But our main focus as coaches and leaders is on the players and their approach to being part of a team. Preparing responsible athletes with a good attitude who are loyal to their teammates and the school is a priority. While we stress the importance of maintaining a competitive edge, the combination of competition and fun motivates our players to do their best.”
This outlook lays the groundwork for measuring success in a number of aspects at RCDS, from work in the classroom to a performance on stage or a victory on the athletic field. RCDS also has a no-cut policy, which establishes an inclusive environment and gives students an opportunity to gain experience in a variety of sports that they may not necessarily try otherwise.
Thirteen-year-old Darren Twomey says that he joined the football team because of the welcoming nature of the program and Coach Campy’s can-do attitude. “Campy makes everyone want to play,” Darren explained. “He makes sure everyone gets a chance to play in the games and lets us know it’s okay to make mistakes. Football is very team-based. It’s special. The time in the locker room, the bus rides, the chants to get everyone hyped – there’s nothing like it.”
Team camaraderie is also meaningful to eighth-grade field hockey captain Cate Sullivan. “This year was a year that we really came together,” she said. “We worked well as a team and I think that’s why we were able to go so far this season. It’s even more special as an eighth-grader. We’ll always remember this.” Cate and Darren both plan to continue playing sports in high school next year.
The RCDS Athletic Program offers over 15 sports teams, which 80% of Upper School students commit to. The boys and girls basketball teams will kick off the winter season at Keansburg Middle School on December 13.
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