Article by: Georgina Pekin
Photographs by: Maxine Alindogan
Each season, our varsity athletes are sent away to compete in IASAS (Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools) tournaments, filled with intense matches, great school spirit, loud parents, and physically demanding three days of competition. An often overlooked, but integral part of every IASAS and the memories it creates, is housing. Without housing, IASAS tournaments simply couldn’t occur. Schools come together to support the IASAS community as hosts by opening their homes for five days each season. Athletes are often separated into groups of two to four students within their respective teams and are kindly welcomed into the homes of many generous host-school families.
This year ISM will be hosting volleyball and cross-country for first season and need housing for 170 athletes! Additionally, in 2014, International School of Bangkok will take on the substantial role of hosting both IASAS swimming and rugby/touch and need to house an astounding 260 athletes in second season. “Housing can often be the most stressful part of organizing IASAS,” states Athletics Director, Mark Pekin. “It often comes right down to the wire, and it isn’t until the final days before the event that all athletes have confirmed beds.”. Why is it such a struggle to find host families for everyone when there are so many benefits of housing? Is it the hassle of driving athletes around, or the fear of awkward family dinners with strangers?
Bamboo Telegraph has investigated the many benefits of hosting and the experiences students have gained from housing, which have proven to far outweigh the negatives. Housing promotes team bonding, pushing housers to watch more of IASAS tournaments, and enhances inter-school bonding. Junior Chiara Squillantini says “It’s fulfilling to give back to the people who have housed you in the past.” She adds “Not only was watching their (Jakarta International School basketball athletes of 2011) games fun, but even interacting with them during dinner times was very enjoyable because they were so nice and friendly.”
The Bearcat Athletic Policy requires athletes who are housed during IASAS tournaments to return the favor and to house when ISM is hosting. The importance of this favor can often be overlooked. Hosts generously provide food, transportation, and a place to sleep for the athletes. The Parent Teacher Association President,, Terri Madrigal, comments, “Housing isn’t as hard as you think, and you will end up having an enjoyable time. You get different perspectives on international schools and the students’ lives, and you watch the sports that you might not have been interested in before but enjoy watching to see the people you are housing.”
Get your housing forms in for IASAS Volleyball/Cross-Country by October 15th to the ATAC office! Forms are available at the ATAC office or from the ATAC blog: atac.ism-online.org.