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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

Sports Captains Chapel Talk
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Rachel Mavity

Several of the captains of fall sports teams spoke during an inspirational community chapel service on Friday, October 21. Here are some excerpts from their talks.

Varsity Volleyball Co-Captains Darden Shuman ’23 and Eleanor Livings ’23

Darden: "Three years ago, the captain of the volleyball team encouraged Eleanor and me to try out for the varsity volleyball team. In that moment, we expressed similar feelings of nervousness, shyness, and anticipation, but the moment we stepped onto the court, we were greeted with excitement, love, support, and trust. Since that moment, we both knew that we wanted to be like the leaders that had encouraged us to show up to the court that very first day."

Eleanor: "When the team elected us to be captains, we knew that we wanted to create a team culture that was as special and memorable as our freshman-year team, but we also knew that we wanted to find a balance between lightheartedness and competition. One of our top priorities was to model trust, collaboration, grace, and motivation as captains, because we believe that strong, trusting relationships lie at the foundation of a successful team."

Darden: "Part of being a captain is providing an extra layer of support to teammates, especially off the court. This means showing up for others when you know it’s been a rough day."

Eleanor: "It means advocating for our teammates when we must make a change. Especially in volleyball, it’s important to establish this type of trust in personal relationships because not only does it keep the energy and morale high on the court, but it also instills camaraderie off the court, no matter what the result of a game is."

Darden: "As captains, we try to live by our own advice by modeling a friendship that emphasizes standing up for each other, relentlessly communicating, accountability, and lightheartedness in the face of adversity."

Eleanor: "Being a captain means showing other players the importance of grit, resilience, competitive drive, but above all else, a commitment to love."

Darden: "To the future captains and players of the volleyball team, we hope that you will continue pushing each other, talking in Miranda Sings, and most importantly, loving one another."

Football Captain Will Dulaney ’23

"Football preseason for a freshman is the most intimidating time at St. Andrew’s for anyone who gets to do it. Coming here for the first time, I knew no one and had no clue what to expect. In the first two days, Ford and I showed up about 10 minutes late to a practice, causing the whole team to do up-downs. I thought I was done. My first impression with the people I would be spending my next four years with was a bad one. After that, I was scared to do any drills, drop the ball, hit, or do anything where I could mess up. You can imagine that this would encompass almost anything during practice. Early on, there was a practice in the gym because it was raining. I remember moving to receiving drills and finding it was my turn to run whatever route we were running. I probably wasn’t paying attention, but I did not know what route to run. Seeing I was about to mess up, a senior captain stepped in to go so I wouldn’t have to. He was a little quiet, and hadn’t gotten around to introducing himself to me yet; but he was my big brother, Adrian Watts. He ran the route and made the catch. Now, I knew what to run and did the same, although there’s a pretty good chance I dropped it. 

I saw Adrian look out for other people, often leading more by action than voice. Later, Tad Roach [former Head of School] would claim that he was the best football player to ever play at the school. Those types of claims will always be debatable, but he was a great player and a great leader. That was my first impression of a captain.

Last year, I realized that you don’t have to have the title of captain to lead, whether it’s leading vocally or by example. Looking out for your teammates should happen, regardless of your place on the team. And, in that environment, they’ll start looking out for you, too. In a game where a wrong step could mean a concussion, trust in your teammates is more crucial than ever. I think the job of a captain is to help as much of the team understand this as possible. 

This year, I’ve been psyched about how many leaders I’ve seen, specifically juniors, who lead whether they are a “captain” or not. It’s shown me that this team is capable of reaching a higher level of play; if and only if we can believe in the player next to us, on and off the field."

Boys Cross-Country Captain Kyle Share ’23

(Note: While Kyle is not competing this year, he still serves as captain and self-described spirit leader.)

“Cross-Country races are plainly unenjoyable. They are hot, hilly, and painful and there’s no way around it. Yet for some reason, possibly the sports requirement of St. Andrew’s, we subject ourselves to that pain over and over again. Well, this year as a 5-year senior I have been liberated from that pain! But this talk isn’t about how much I miss it and the ineffable feeling of running a PR. No in fact, while I do miss the camaraderie and shared pain of the team, being on the sidelines has given me a much different perspective. The races are no longer focused on myself and whether or not I will finally achieve that elusive 18-minute club, but purely on the people I cheer for. When I race from point A to point B and C trying to hit as many points on the course as possible, what used to be the obsession of my own goals transforms into the celebration of others. So yes, I do miss the unbearable pain of screaming lungs and aching legs, but what overpowers me more is the somehow smiling Caroline Meers at all points of the race or the flexing arms Zach gives while running a 30-second personal record (PR). The fulfillment comes from Lia Miller saying that she would not have been able to run nearly as well without me there or the excitement within me as Peter Bird rushes down the course. So while I may be sick, I may have shin splints, my bike may be broken, and I may not be able to race, you'd better believe I’ll be at Killens Pond [Friday] cheering for all of you until my voice gives out.”

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