The Future of PSAL sports

By: Cameron Kemme

 

If the PSAL approves the school’s application for new sports, three new teams may be added to a growing list of teams.

However, one sport will certainly not be added to that list next year – basketball.

“Most kids don’t come to Murrow to play sport,” Mr. James Cunningham, the Assistant Principal of Physical Education said. “[If you wanted to play basketball] you should’ve gone to a school that had basketball. You have to look at what’s offered at a school and not what your parents push you to do.”

Mr. Cunningham said that one problem for adding basketball to its roster of 8 spring teams and 3 fall teams, is that there is no gym space.

“We are trying to stay away from sports that use facilities in house because the theater department uses the space in the gyms,” he said.

Mr. Cunningham was quick to mention however, that the school did give basketball a shot, in the form of an in-house league under the direction of Mr. Larry Blatt. The league, however, failed because it required students who played to show a transcript with passing grades. In the end, there were not enough transcripts submitted to create enough teams.

In addition to basketball, Mr. Cunningham also shot down the two other popular sports of handball and tennis because of scheduling problems.

“Handball and tennis is not a given because it is unknown if Midwood would allow us to schedule,” he said.

But Mr. Cunningham did apply to the PSAL to add boys’ soccer and cross country and also boys and girls rugby. He’s said he’s not sure when he’ll hear back but is hoping that these new teams will be added for the next school year.

“Most of the parents [and students] are on board with adding new teams,” Mr. Cunningham said. “We have a huge demand for boys’ soccer.”

However, Mr. Cunningham was clear to clarify that getting a new sport at Murrow isn’t as easy as 1-2-3.

“A sport starts with a teacher and a group of kids… they advertise a club to `feel out’ the sport and then it mushrooms from there,” said Mr. Cunningham.

It doesn’t end there, a potential coach needs some out-of-the-ordinary qualifications.

“A teacher would need certification in CPR, concussion and first aid,” said Mr. Cunningham. “Then we have to apply through the PSAL, it’s an evolving process. It really is up to the PSAL [if the sport is granted.] They work on their own timeline.”

Those are just the standard hurdles to get a sport though, with Murrow having unique barriers in adding sports.

Despite the school applying for school sports, Mr. Cunningham let on that new PSAL teams are not a priority even though most of the teams are overcrowded, proving a demand for sports. There are more than 30 girls on the soccer team and about 30 players on badminton.

Mr. Cunningham showed empathy for students longing for their dream team, but crushed the hopes of those expecting more sports

“I would love to have a million teams, but that is not going to happen here… This is a school founded on academic principles.” said Mr. Cunningham “One to 3 more teams is going to be it.”

 

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