Supporting Your Student-Athlete at Deerfield
Sports are one of the many beloved traditions at Deerfield Academy. They run the gamut from the intense competition of Choate Day to fun-filled recreational coed teams. There is a sport, team or cocurricular for everyone, and for those students who love being part of a team but don’t want to play a particular sport, there are managerial slots to fill.
No matter the team or sport, family/fan attendance is always welcome! Schedules for all interscholastic team sports can be found on the Athletics page. There are a couple ways to attend: Come to a game, of course, or many games are live streamed so you can watch from home or the office. For away games, you can check the opponents’ website to see if they offer live streaming.
For families within driving distance of home and/or away games, it is an opportunity to see your student(s), albeit briefly, in between breaks and vacations; after away games, you will have a few minutes for a quick chat and a hug. After home games, most of which are on Wednesdays and Saturdays (when dinner at Deerfield is not a sit-down), with permission and by signing out, your student can have a quick dinner with you, as long as they return to their dorm prior to check-in for Study Hall.
JV, thirds teams, and occasionally varsity teams, too, are often in need of volunteers in the form of “Team Parents.” As a Team Parent, you can help the coaches tremendously by communicating with other parents of team members to coordinate after match/game snacks and/or meals, for example.
When a team travels to another school for an away match/game, sometimes they can’t make it back in time for dinner before the Dining Hall closes. Athletics coordinates with the kitchen for boxed meals for these away games, but every team is different, and sometimes—especially in the case of boys’ teams—those boxed meals are devoured on the way to the game, leaving the players pretty hungry on the return trip. Once you know your team’s likes and dislikes (sandwiches, pizza, chips, drinks and cookies/brownies/cupcakes are some of the easy and predictable choices that are welcomed by most teams), a simple phone call to the opposing school’s main number will usually get you the information of where to find good delivery places for subs or pizza. You might even get a discount if you mention that the local school recommended them, and sometimes these businesses will deliver directly to a Deerfield bus! You can also sign up to bring cookies/brownies/cupcakes, drinks, etc., if you’re planning to attend the game.
Many parents have found that throwing folding tables into their vehicles and then setting up near the bus with snacks and drinks laid out gives everyone a chance to get to know one another, congratulate or commiserate with the kids as they grab some food, and send them back to Deerfield with a smile and a high five.
There is always something more that you can do—just be sure to check in with your child’s head coach beforehand (coaches can be reached via email). Some examples of what “doing more” might entail:
Create Roster Cards and/or a Parent Email List
Roster cards can make it easier for the parents on the sidelines to identify players and cheer for everyone. Rosters for every team, by season, are available on the Athletics page; it’s a good idea to double-check rosters a few days prior to first game of the season for any sport because they can change. For the parent email list, you can go to DAInfo and get each player’s parent contact information to create a team list with emails and phone numbers.
Once player numbers are assigned, you can create a list (Microsoft Excel has an easy template) and print the roster on card stock. Cards can be laminated inexpensively at your local print shop and trimmed down to a manageable size to share with other families at games or just for info. (Helpful hint: You can punch a hole in the bottom of the card and attach it to a lanyard; inexpensive lime green lanyards are available on Amazon.)
Call in Score Updates
Sports Information Director Carly Barbato always appreciates scoring updates via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), especially from away games so she can update the Athletics page or Twitter with the results ASAP.
Bringing your camera to the game? If you can take photos of the whole game/match and include other players, the Athletics Office would really appreciate it. You can send those pictures to Carly (email@example.com) and she’ll upload them to the Deerfield’s Vidigami account (don’t forget to sign up for Vidigami! You should’ve received an email about it…). Or, if your child’s team has a Shutterfly Share account, you can share your pictures there so other team parents can view and download pictures of their student-athletes.
Here are just a few apps or sites that parents have found helpful in organizing and connecting team families—please keep in mind that with the exception of Vidigami, Deerfield does not support the tech behind any of these platforms.
- Sign Up websites (e.g., Sign Up Genius, Sly Reply) are a tremendous aid when setting up a post-game feed for a team and for keeping track of who is bringing what.
- Shutterfly Share Sites allow team parents to share photos, snack sign-ups, and enables easy emailing to team families.
- Group Me can be a helpful app for a designated parent who is comfortable with texting and with the sport being watched; Group Me allows parents who cannot attend games to follow the action via texts on the app.
So, if you are looking for ways to get involved or be more involved with sports at Deerfield, give these ideas a try! Thanks, and see you on the field!
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