The Differences Between Playing For Walpole Or For A Club Team

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David Moser

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Junior James Randall dribbles the ball during Monday’s practice at Walpole’s boys varsity basketball team. Photo by David Moser.

Upon entering high school, students are faced with many decisions, from which classes to take to which clothes to wear. For the students who play sports during high school, there is one more decision: should they play their sport for Walpole High’s team or for a club team?

During the season, some clubs only allow their players to play exclusively for that one team, and high school sports have practices or games after every school day and sometimes on Saturdays. With these limitations, along with the mountains of homework that students receive, playing both high school and club is often difficult. As a result, student athletes are faced with the tough choice of choosing an activity in which to participate.

During each season, Walpole High School’s teams offer tryouts for students. In the fall, Walpole offers eight sports, in the winter, nine and in the spring, seven.

Deciding what team to try out for can depend on what works best for the individual. Sophomore midfielder Lucas Ferrera played for the New England Football Club his freshman year, while during his sophomore year, he came back to play for coach Delaney on WHS’s boys soccer team. “It was mostly because of the scheduling conflicts,” Ferrera said.

Students who want to play basketball can either try out for the high school’s team or for Walpole’s recreational league, but not both. In this case, Rec functions mainly as a club for kids who are looking to play but did not make one of Walpole High’s teams.

“Both [high school and Rec] are very fun and intense, but are different experiences. Players should be able to play both, so to get more experience playing the sport,” said Junior James Randall, who has played both WHS and Rec basketball.

The team aspect is what persuades most kids to play for WHS. They want to be able to make school history alongside their peers.

“I like the team aspect. Being on a team and being with friends is why I want to play for Walpole,” said Senior Hiromi Kondo, a prime example of a student athlete who switched from a club team to Walpole High’s team. She joined Walpole High’s gymnastics team this year after competing individually for Paradise Gymnastics since she was in sixth grade. Kondo brings experience to the WHS team, who failed to win a single match last year (0-9).

On the other hand, some students play club so that they can be more easily scouted for college teams. Club teams serve as a platform for players to showcase their skills and talent while also playing for fun.

Senior Sarah Rockwood is another example of a student athlete at Walpole High who has experience playing both club and Walpole.  She is one of the few athletes to actually play both at the same time.  Rockwood has been playing for the field hockey club, Lead the Way, since she was in seventh grade, on top of playing for Walpole High’s Porkers since sixth grade.  “I play club because I want to play [field hockey] in college, so I knew that playing club would help me achieve that goal.”  Rockwood added, “I knew it would be a challenge to do both, but practicing my own skills with club, and then focusing more on the team aspect at WHS would both help.”

While playing club or high school sports can have very different benefits, they both provide the opportunity for athletes to participate in the sports they enjoy. The decision lies in what the student is looking to get out of high school athletics experiences and what the student sees for his or her athletic future.