Written by: Sophie
Edited by: Sarah
Visual by: Macy
Manila recently began adjusting to Alert Level 1 which started March 1st and will continue until at least March 15th. The transition to Alert Level 1 comes with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions as the Philippines takes steps closer to “pre-COVID normalcy.” As an added benefit of Level 1, ISM has begun its “Return to Sport” program, also abbreviated as RTS.
As the Philippines’ COVID-19 restrictions and protocols have been holding back sports for almost 2 years, the Return to Sport program will emphasize skill, drills, fitness recovery, and social connection again through after-school sports. Students have already signed up for Session #1 sports, which will last for six weeks from March 2nd to April 8th. Although the Athletics Department will not be able to offer the full array of sports from pre-COVID, high school’s Session #1 sports still include Cross Country, Soccer, Badminton, Basketball, Golf, Touch Rugby, Track, Swimming, and Chess. HS students are thrilled sports are returning: Maddie from Grade 9 says, “Right now I am doing swimming, track, and touch rugby and I really enjoy being able to socialize with my friends and continue the sports I loved to play before COVID.”
A large focus of the RTS program is allowing everyone interested in sport to be able to join. Therefore, there are no tryouts or Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. A 9th grader opened up, “I am really glad that they started sports again; however, sometimes I wish there was a more competitive aspect to it when we are playing games or through being a part of a team.” While the Athletics Department shares in their sentiment, they have stated that, “we simply want to get students interested in sports out training and being social again” with more of an emphasis of helping students adjust back to sports in person.
Still, not all sports offered in the normal school year are a part of Session #1. The Athletics Department says, “We are trying to offer as many [sports] as we can with facility sharing and coach availability. Along with trying to squeeze the sports done in a normal year into 13 weeks, it is difficult to achieve.” For students whose favorite sports are not a part of Session #1, another sign-up will open up for Session #2 sports, starting the week of April 18th until June 3rd, after the April spring break. Some new sports in consideration for Session #2 include Rugby, Volleyball, Girls Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Judo, and Aikido. Another 9th grader said in response, “I am not really interested in the sports offered this session, but I heard they will be offering new sports for Session #2 like volleyball and will definitely consider joining one.”
If you would like to participate in Session #2 sports, look out for an email to sign-up prior to the spring break. For student-athletes hoping to join teams or undergo more competitive training or games, the Athletics Department says they “hope for the normal sports program in SY 22-23 when we start back in August.” Thank you to the Athletics Department for your hard work to make ISM’s Return to Sport program possible!