By: Wilson C. (’20)
The bell rings on Friday afternoon and students have survived another week at Crystal Springs Uplands School. Students eagerly pack up before the teachers have even finished their sentences and pour out of the mansion and the Uplands building. For almost all high schoolers, last Friday afternoon signified the end of a long week on campus, and the start of two and a half days of relaxation, spending time with family and friends, and procrastinating on major assessments. However, a brave few take the field each Friday to put themselves through hardship in the pursuit of victory.
Unfortunately for the Crystal Springs football team, that victory does not come very often. They have yet to win this season, and their only victory last season was an epic comeback at Homecoming led by Quarterback Matt Mizota. One could be quick to pin the lack of success on the players or coaching staff, but football actually seems to be one of the more determined teams on campus.
Football is a sport known for physically-grueling practices, and team members push themselves hard day-after-day in order to improve. Although this hard work doesn’t seem to be turning into victories for the team right now, senior WR James K. said one thing that the team has done well this year is “maintaining a positive spirit and maintaining [their] confidence.” Although one may point to the lack of upperclassmen on the team as a reason for concern for participation in the future, James said the future is “definitely” looking brighter for the football team. When asked about the Sophomores, he said “You can tell that they have gotten a lot better and that they have put in some hard work over the summer and during the season… because we’re such a Sophomore heavy team you can really see that they are taking leadership positions.” He added, “Sophomores like Zach are helping guys stay on track in practice.”
The growth and commitment of Sophomores should be a sign of better things to come for Gryphon football in the future. However, there are also changes that could be made in order to improve the team, starting with James’ thoughts on the “lack of numbers”. He pointed out that the team started the season with only fourteen players, eleven less than the smallest team they have played this year. This does not bode well for the team, considering that everyone must be a two-way player and spend a considerable amount of time on the field each game compared to opposing players, who can be rotated in and out with ease. The lack of numbers should become less of an issue as the high school expands over the next few years, but the lack of participation indicates that the athletic culture at Crystal Springs is not yet where it needs to be. The goal, one day, is to have participation like Trinity Christian (Monterey) who trounced Crystal 64-12 on September 29. Kaplan pointed out, that although only 56 boys attend the high school, they have 64% participation. This is monstrous compared to Crystal’s measly 13%. Ultimately, it comes down to students being willing to step up and accept the challenge of starting out from the bottom as an underdog. One day, I am sure that Crystal Springs will make it to the top, but it won’t happen overnight.