How These Two Clubs are Rejuvenating Stuyvesant Sports

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Issue 4, Volume 113

By Ty Anant 

The sports culture at Stuyvesant has long been overshadowed by the school’s academic reputation. Stuyvesant’s sports teams have had to work twice as hard as those from other schools to earn the same levels of respect and appreciation, and they have been the unfortunate recipients of lackluster support at home. An active athletics community is integral to any high school, and the bonds that sports create are some of the most important for teenagers. Since the revival of in-person learning last year, student-led clubs and teams have been rebuilding the athletics reputation of Stuyvesant bit by bit. Though there is still a lot of room for improvement, the sports community at Stuyvesant is certainly tangible, connecting people from all grades through coaches, captains, managers, and mentors.

This year, there are two sports organizations contributing greatly to the athletics culture at Stuyvesant. One of these is senior Jeffrey Tan’s Sports Sibs, a program that pairs younger kids with high school mentors playing the same sport. In the summer of 2020, Jeffrey began to hold Zoom classes in order to lend advice to middle schoolers, and when the classes grew to around 20 people, Tan realized there was a demand for a “Big Sib” program between high schools and middle schools. Having played sports for his whole life, Tan knew their value as facilitators for building strong and meaningful relationships. In the following year, he worked hard to develop Sports Sibs into what it is today—a free and valuable opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. “Sports Sibs is great for any younger kids who are trying to improve at sports, while also looking for advice and mentorship for anything they might face, including the SHSAT and high school admissions, which can be pretty scary,” Tan said. “For the mentors, it’s about using your athletic and personal experience for a larger purpose than something like winning your next game.”

Since its creation, Sports Sibs has expanded to include students from Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Millennium, Lab Middle, Eastside Middle, and Salk. This year alone, over 20 mentors are serving Sports Sibs from Stuyvesant. Mentorship has been valuable for these students as it gives them a way to play the sport they love while also fostering beneficial relationships with younger kids. “It’s valuable for both parties, and it's especially convenient for Stuy[vesant] athletes who may have a lot of work or less time to play their sport as much as they’d like in the off-season. You also really realize how much you can help these kids, who are going to be part of the upcoming classes at Stuy[vesant] or other schools,” leader of Stuyvesant’s Sports Sibs chapter and junior David Glick said.

The other organization making waves in the Stuyvesant sports community is the Sports Management Club (SMC). Founded by junior Soham Mukherjee, the club works to directly improve the sports culture at Stuy, investing in sports technology, analysis, and medicine to better the performance of Stuyvesant’s sports teams. Since their start in February, they’ve been working on a few innovative projects to bring sports technology to Stuyvesant.

Catapult Sports is an Australian-based sports analytics company known for their specially-designed vests that allow athletes to track important performance statistics. The SMC has worked closely with Catapult in order to obtain their Catapult One vests for the Stuyvesant boys’ soccer team. “Catapult’s wearable technology is easy and comfortable to work with and it allows [our] players and coaches to assess their physical performance after every practice or game session,” Mukherjee said.

This has had a major impact on Stuyvesant sports, as coaches now have access to concrete data to aid them in their assessment of their team and players. “The Catapult vests have been a great addition this season because in both games and practices we were able to track and compare stats across the team. On a lighter level, they increase competitiveness within the team, as everyone strives to be at the top of the stats in speed or sprint distance,” junior and member of Stuyvesant’s boys’ soccer team Farzad Hoque said.

The SMC also managed to get cameras installed in both the third and sixth floor gyms, allowing indoor teams to record and play back footage of games and practices. This adds another layer to the data collection ability of Stuyvesant’s sports teams, making film review sessions more readily accessible. So far, the cameras have mostly been used to live-stream games.

The additions of the cameras and the Catapult vests have immediately added to the legitimacy of Stuyvesant’s sports teams. The SMC, however, has even higher ambitions. “My goal behind creating the club was to support our teams and athletes by providing them with the same sports system and setup commonly seen in the professional world,” Mukherjee said.

Both Sports Sibs and the SMC have contributed immensely to the rejuvenated sports culture at Stuyvesant. Teams are experiencing more support through SMC analytic programs, and individual players are realizing the tremendous impact they can have on younger players. Sports Sibs and the SMC have done a lot for athletic engagement this year, and though there is still a long way to go, Stuyvesant sports are certainly on the rise.