Some sports can be easier to make than others

Matt Roman

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Photo by Lucas Gillespie

Varsity football coach Larry Hurd Jr. talks to his team at the WJ Homecoming football game. The Wildcats boasted a record season, starting the year at 4-0.

It is well known around Walter Johnson that there are some teams that are easier to make than others. For example, the boys JV basketball team frequently has around 50 or 60 kids trying out for about 12-15 spots. However, there are other teams, such as boys and girls lacrosse, who have frequently had little to no cuts over the past years.

Allowing freshmen to try a new sport can often reap major benefits for that team. It allows coaches to train the players the way that they like, which means they will play the way they like, which is a coach’s dream. On the other hand, these players are very raw and often don’t have a good game IQ or skills, which is bad for the team. In contrast, players who have been playing for a while often have very good skills and IQ, but may not follow the coach’s system as well as new players, so there are positives and negatives for each.

There are many examples of teams with more experienced players being successful, and very few cases of teams with new players being successful. The basketball team that made it to the county finals certainly had no players who weren’t playing the sport before high school. The soccer team that won states was filled with players who had been playing since birth. However, the new players may become successful in their own right. There are three players on the boys lacrosse team who had never touched a stick before high school who are going to be an integral part of the team this year, which never would’ve happened if the team had been harder to make. This could also inspire players who may not have grown up playing a sport to get involved in the team community and be able to earn themselves a letterman jacket.

Although teams without tryouts offer playing opportunities to more athletes, what truly matters in varsity sports is winning games, which, frankly, is more likely to happen on teams that have tryouts because the players are more advanced in the skills of the game. This is why the most successful teams in recent WJ history, excluding this year’s football team, have been comprised of players who had been playing the game their whole life after competing hard in a tryout against other very skilled players. Football is the lone exception to this rule, as they don’t hold tryouts and allow anyone to make the team. However, in football, not everyone gets to play. Playing spots are earned only by the top players, and players who would’ve been cut don’t play in games unless it is out of hand, making it effectively a team with tryouts.

There is a place for both teams with cuts and teams without, but if we’re counting wins here, teams with tryouts take the cake.