Girls in ATS: the right fit?


Sam Bull, Opinion Editor

At DGN, the Advanced Team Sports physical education course is known for having a competitive and rivalrous atmosphere, and presents a fine line between those who are anxious to compete and those who are not. ATS, as it is commonly known, can also mistakenly have a reputation for having gender expectations, due to the fact that there are almost no girls in the class.

In ATS, grading is based solely on participation and attendance, but the competitive atmosphere encourages the desire to win, regardless of its effects on a student’s grade.

This atmosphere can come off as too intimidating for many who may not be high level athletes, giving the class somewhat of a reputation for being too much to handle for the average athletic student.

However, junior Carolyn-Paige Breit, who was in ATS last semester, explains how one does not have to be an unbelievable athlete to thrive in the class.

“Even if you’re not good at everything, people respect you if you know what you’re doing in one or two specific sports,” Breit said.

James Haack, who runs all the ATS classes, also mentioned how not being very good at one sport or another is not what is really important.

“I think that what we’ve tried to develop [in ATS] is that it’s not about being great at every sport, but it’s more about playing hard and contributing to your team,” Haack said.

Breit was the only girl in ATS last year, and explains how although that altered her experiences in the class, she was able to manage it and receive help when needed.

“To be able to fend for yourself as the only girl can be intimidating and [require a tough mental attitude], but Haack was really helpful and was available for anything I needed,” Breit said.

Haack explained how he could see how it may be uncomfortable to be the only girl in an ATS class, but it can be a more comfortable atmosphere if multiple girls are put into the same class.

“If you could get two or three [girls in the same class] that’s ideal because they have another girl to fall back on if they need it,” Haack said.

Haack also mentioned that he hasn’t had as much success in finding girls that would want to be in ATS.

“I would like to have a few more at least, and I’m never going to get a 50/50 ratio, but I think that, again, a girl would like to go into the class with [another girl] that she knows,” Haack said.

Breit also mentioned that the Elite 10 list, a competition between all the ATS classes that rewards points for wins and participation, pushes students to compete even more.

“The top 10 at the end of the semester get shirts, so it’s not for a grade, but it makes things even more competitive,” Breit said.

Breit also said how ATS should not have a reputation for being too competitive or intimidating, and should be a place for athletic boys and girls to feel confident and have fun.

“If you’re an athletic girl, don’t be afraid to take it just because it may seem intimidating. It’s a really fun class,” Breit said.