The Future of JIS Sports

As IASAS returns to normality, what comes next for sports at our school?

Uma Rahardja

Ever since the pandemic, sports programs have been rendered unavailable due to social-distancing restrictions. This has caused a significant void in the school life of the JIS community since sports are part of the high school experience. However, now that the pandemic has slightly subsided, many schools, including JIS, have started to reopen and are slowly returning to their pre-pandemic state. Since then many students, parents, and teachers alike have long awaited the return of sports. After all, it’s not a stretch to assume that sports would transition back to normal just as school has.

Mr Stockman, the Athletics Director, already made plans long before school begins to reopen to on-campus learning, ensuring a smooth transition by splitting it into three phases:

First phase: Training and competing with students on-campus.

Second phase: Competing with other local schools or sports clubs within Jakarta.

Third phase: Travel outside of the city or travel outside of Indonesia for competitions.

The first phase started around the end of the final quarter when Dragon Bites reopened sports registrations. The registrations immediately sparked positive responses from the JIS community as students, teachers, and parents alike expressed their excitement knowing that students will have to opportunity to be active, involved in sports, having fun exercising/training, and having fun bonding with their teammates to make them want to stay active and become better at their chosen sport.

The lack of training during the pandemic did not just affect their individual skill but also their ability to function as a team. Cayden Liu, a fencer, was excited that these types of sports will be able to get back together to train since “if you were to practice alone you cannot practice [teamwork] with your teammates.” Practicing together creates bonds between players in team sports.

Having sports back on campus also gives athletes the opportunity to meet other athletes. Marie Ramlie, a swimmer’s parent, states that the return to offline sports is a good thing, as it allows kids “a chance to meet new people outside the classroom and challenge themselves.” Sports allows students of varying ages and skill levels to meet, based on similar interests as it might be the only thing each student has in common, but their commitment to that one thing unites them. This unanimous relatability allows them to form relationships with people outside their friend group and also motivates each and every one of them to try their best.

The positive effects of the first phase could even be seen when the JIS swim team competed in a virtual competition, hosted by The Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS). In preparation for the competition, the swimmers went through intense 5-6 kilometer sets as a team, often motivating and creating challenges for each other in-between sets, forming a strong bond between them. This bond strengthened their friendship and school spirit, as seen during the competition. Despite the circumstances being less than ideal, with the pool being too short and the lack of breaks in between races, the students made the best of it, watching and cheering each other on when they weren’t racing. At the end of the event, they did the Naga chant in a moment of team unity.

Although IASAS events in the final phase are the highlight of being on a JIS sports team, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and the school still needs to comply with government regulations, so interschool competitions and IASAS will simply have to wait. On the bright side, according to a recent Dragon Bites post, these final two phases are confirmed to happen within the next school year.

In the meantime, until competition dates appear and the pandemic has almost fully subsided, stay focused, stay fit, keep training, keep updated, and see you after the break!