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Inside the Life of a Winter Sport Team Captain

Last updated on February 18, 2022

This year, the Northwest School’s athletic program consists of three sports for the winter athletics season. girls’ basketball coached by Leah H., Mike M., and Isabel C., boys’ basketball coached by Henry P., Pride, Matt L., and mixed-ultimate coached by Reid K. Along with the coaches, every sport has team captains. Team captains are chosen and/or voted for. They are players on the team who take on leadership roles and become a bridge between the coaches and the rest of the players on the team. The role of the team captains is to support their teammates and be leaders who are there for their team when needed. I had the chance to talk to team captains from this year’s winter sports teams, to get to know what it is like to be a team captain.

Boys Basketball – Zeek P. ‘22 with Jonah D. ‘25 (JVC), Kris H. ‘23 with Jose L.B. ‘23 (JV), and Michael L. ‘22 with Miles N. ‘23 and Simon H. ‘22 (Varsity)

Of the team captains I interviewed, many said that they made their friends through their sport or that they love connecting with their teammates. Most of them made their friends through basketball. For JVC boys’ basketball, I interviewed Zeek P. ‘22. 

On the JV boys’ team, I interviewed Jose L.B. ‘23. Jose had some amusing responses to my interview questions, and I had fun reading his interview responses. He specifically added that he has “never been about the basketball grind, necessarily.” He mainly plays just to enjoy himself, and he likes to spend time with his friends.

On the varsity Boys Basketball team, I interviewed all the captains. Michael L. ‘22 started playing basketball in his first year at Northwest, in seventh grade. Simon H. ‘22 started playing basketball when he was in fifth grade, and he started playing for Northwest in the sixth grade. Miles N. ‘23 started playing basketball when he first came to Northwest which was when he was in sixth grade. 

These captains laughed with each other a lot and seemed to be very comfortable around each other. You can tell basketball really helps bring people together. I asked them all what it is like to be a team captain. Many of them talked about responsibility. Zeek P. ‘22 (JVC) said that he feels like he needs to bring a lot of positivity to his team and that he thinks that this is a major part of what makes someone a good leader. A lot of them say that it was an honor to be voted by their teammates and chosen by their coaches to be captains, but that it was a lot easier not to be team captains. Simon H. ‘22 (Varsity) said that it may seem like being a team captain is easy, but that you actually have a lot of specific guidelines that the coaches have put in place. Jose said that for him there is a bigger expectation for him to be fully present. That he needs to keep his “spirits high and to make sure that the team has good chemistry.”

I asked them what the hardest thing about being on the basketball team is. Most of them talked about having to stay after school really late. Or that you have to constantly be processing what is going on and you need to think about what will happen next. The last question was about their favorite things about basketball. All of the boys’ varsity team captains said that they really like the people, being able to make new friends on the team and the competitiveness. Jose said that he really likes basketball because he is someone who must be constantly moving. He told me, I cannot, for the life of me, sit still.” He loves how it is a very strategic game. I asked them if they would continue playing basketball. They all said that they plan on continuing basketball. Those who are not yet seniors said that they all plan on continuing basketball after the season ends. The seniors said that they would like to continue playing in college. 

Girls Basketball – Eden B. ‘23 with Mathilde V. ‘23 and Rose M. ‘23 (JV), and Brooklyn J. ‘22, Neeku P. ‘22, and Shoshana R. ‘22

For Girls Basketball team captains I interviewed Mathilde V. ‘23 For JV Girls’ Basketball. Mathilde answered all of my questions with a lot of thought. Mathilde is very new to the Northwest basketball team. She has been playing basketball casually in her neighborhood throughout her life and did pre-season basketball at Northwest last year, but her first real season was this year. She started playing basketball because she really loved the culture of “family” in the sport. She wanted to play a sport this winter, and she decided to try it out. She told me that the reason she likes basketball is that she likes being able to connect with others on the court and during practices. Basketball after school is something that she looks forward to every day.

I asked her what it is like to be a team captain. She said for her it is a big honor, and that “being a team captain means stepping into a leadership role. You have to be supportive on and off the court. You’re setting the standard for what you want the team to act like: play hard, be loud, and support each other.” Mathilde likes being able to watch the team improve and watch the progress of her team. She told me that being a team captain has its challenges as much as it is fun. But to her, the sport itself is more difficult than the leadership role that she brought on. “A lot of aggression and energy is needed, so you always have to give it 100%,” despite whatever’s happening outside of the game or practice. She said that she plans on continuing playing basketball at Northwest after this season, but that she doesn’t think that it is very realistic for her to play in college professionally because she has not been playing for long enough. But that she would like to play for fun in college and beyond.

Mixed-Ultimate – Jonah T. ‘22 and Naomi F. ‘22

 I also interviewed this year’s Mixed-Ultimate team captains; Jonah T. ‘22 and Naomi F ‘22. Naomi started playing Ultimate when she was 8 years old in her 3rd grade year because it was one of the few sports that was offered in elementary school, and her friend started playing, so she decided to as well and ended up loving it so she continued to play. Jonah picked up Ultimate when he was 10 years old. because his dad plays the sport as well. His dad always wanted Jonah to give it a try so he did. He loved it and continued to play. His first real team was in 7th grade. 

Naomi started at Northwest in 6th grade and played on the middle school’s Ultimate team. Jonah started here when he was in 9th grade, and played on the high school team. I asked them both why they like playing Ultimate. Naomi said that she really likes Ultimate because it is a fun team sport and that it is a good combination of exercise and being able to connect socially. She said that it has had a really good impact on her well-being compared to other sports she has been a part of. Jonah said that he really loves the spirit of the game. He also mentioned that it is all about being a good sport. He likes being able to have fun while competing at a high level while also having fun with friends.

I asked them what it is like to be a team captain of the NWS’s Ultimate team. Naomi said that she likes trying to be a role model. She said that when she was a freshman she looked up to her team captains, and felt like she could talk to them about what was going on inside and outside of her Ultimate life. Jonah said that for him a big part of Ultimate is the team morale. For him, he feels like he has a job to help the rest of the team feel comfortable. But the downside is that he felt like there was more pressure to perform well to be a good role model. He said that being a captain also feels like there is more weight on your shoulders. They both plan on playing Ultimate in college. 

These team captains are amazing leaders of this year’s winter sports teams. These team captains all plan on continuing playing their sports in the rest of their years at NWS. The senior team captains who will be leaving NWS after this school year will be sorely missed by their teammates.

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