The Raptors’ Winning Tradition

November 5, 2021

What has become increasingly exceptional about Green Chimneys Raptor Athletics is that they are increasingly typical. Like every other school, we are building student athletes. Putting on a Raptors uniform inspires the pride in students that comes along with representing a team and a school, and learning to play a part in something bigger than themselves.

There was a time at Green Chimneys when it was difficult to get our students though an athletic season. This was for many reasons but ultimately, teams would struggle to have enough players for games in the last few weeks. Many of the students at Green Chimneys have not had the chance to be successful in athletics. Often, the physical skills or the social demands have been more than our students are prepared for, and the natural result is that they pull away from these activities. Those days are long gone…Raptor Athletics has flipped the script on these students’ athletic lives.

The spring 2021 intramural softball season saw 30+ students playing all spring and into summer. We anticipate a flag football season with a Varsity team and JV intramural teams with upwards of 25 students participating. We have achieved this level of participation by building a system our students can be successful in, and a culture that pushes our students to get involved and work hard. If a student does not realize that behavior on and off the field matters or that academics matter, they soon do when they join our flag football, basketball or softball teams. For athletics programs to be successful, we need to teach that everything matters; and that making the effort to win matters. We have to work to win in all aspects of life, putting in our best effort, day in and day out.

School teams usually focus on winning and Green Chimneys is no different. The idea that “we just want everyone to play and have a good time” has good intentions. However, no athlete is going to run sprints at the end of practice or stay after to keep shooting free throws in order to push himself or herself, if we give them the notion that this effort doesn’t really matter.

Winning comes in all forms for Raptor Athletics. Sometimes it is very literal. Prior to the pandemic, our softball team was undefeated three years in a row playing against other schools. One year the students even beat a team of all Green Chimneys staff. They won the games, they played with great sportsmanship, and they deserved every bit of self-confidence gained from the hard work they put in. Other times, winning takes on a completely different form. It can mean traveling to The Harvey School and playing a hard-fought game against a legitimate high school varsity basketball team. The scoreboard said we lost in a blowout but our athletes played the best game they ever played and had the time of their lives.

Ultimately, the win we are looking to produce is when a student can take the skills they get from these programs, go back to their community or school, and stay involved in athletics. Even when that does not happen, our goal is for them to have a mindset grounded in that winning tradition, to help them through any challenge they may face in life.