Opinion: How Can we Improve FSSA’s Sports?

By Julia Klimek

How can sports at Sinatra be improved?

Many students love trying out and joining their schools’ sports teams because it’s a way for them to make new friends, have fun after school, and explore their passions. For some it’s even about the competition. But does winning or losing at these games contribute to how entertaining students find them? 

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ (FSSA) sports teams are notoriously known for their frequent losses in games. Oftentimes when Sinatra’s students become aware that there is an upcoming game, the phrase: “They’re gonna lose anyway,” becomes commonplace in the hallways. (Editor’s Note: The FSSA girls softball team is on a winning streak).

This just goes to show that Sinatra’s students, including its student athletes expect the teams to lose, not win. But shouldn’t there be excitement surrounding upcoming games? Shouldn’t there be a sense of school spirit and support?

Are Sinatra’s sports teams “bad” or are there other factors that contribute to their unfortunate losses? 

Dayven Martinez, a 16 year old student at FSSA, has been playing basketball for a few years now. At the beginning of each school year he becomes eager to try out for Sinatra’s boys’ basketball team, which is currently coached by Mr. Billera.

“There should be more time dedicated to the sport. In my time on the team, we had a total of three practices and when we attempted to have more practices we would get reprimanded,” Dayven said. 

Many students have also complained that they miss out on extra practice time that they could get because there needs to be a teacher in the gym in order to hold practices. Coaches of the sports teams can’t always make it to those practices after school, which causes a setback. The other option would be to hold a practice off of school grounds, such as in a park. However, weather conditions aren’t always perfect, which brings another setback.   

It’s safe to assume there are factors, like not enough practice time, that contribute to the amount of losses our teams have suffered. So, how can we expect these student athletes to compete at their fullest potential if they don’t have much time to practice together? How can we get more practice time if there are already studio and academic classes to worry about? 

Mr. Billera, a teacher who has been coaching Sinatra’s sports teams for 18 years now, also believes there should be more time made available for students to excel in their sport.

“The job of a student athlete is difficult, especially here at our school. Our student athletes have the additional challenge of balancing their studio [art] classes along with their academics. With that being said, it would be great if it was possible to offer an elective featuring each of the sports offered here. That would create an opportunity for the athletes to improve their skills at their respective sport, much like the way a studio class functions,” Mr. Billera said. 

Shiley Kruvi, a 17-year-old senior at FSSA, has also been a part of Sinatra’s sports teams for years. During the fall season of her freshman year she joined the girls’ soccer team. During the spring seasons, Shiley continuously joined Sinatra’s girls’ softball team every year, which is currently coached by Mr. Gurba.

“I think the sports teams need to be improved with funding because this year, for example, we need to buy our own jerseys for a lot of money,” Shiley said. 

Estefani Lopez, a 17-year-old student at FSSA, recently joined the girls’ softball team for the first time throughout her four years in high school. She agreed that funding could be a key component to improving sports at Sinatra. She claims it was about a $200 investment to be on the team.

Funding could really help student athletes by providing them with their own uniforms and better equipment. Funding toward sports can also provide a variety of sports teams for all genders.

At the moment the boys’ sports teams only include basketball, baseball and track. The girls’ sports teams include softball, soccer, track, volleyball, tennis and basketball. The boys’ sports teams are very limited even though there are many that would participate in other sports if they were offered.   

Estefani Lopez also spoke about the issue of transportation to and from sporting games.

“The transportation to get to the games is horrible. Many of our games are in Far Rockaway, meaning we have to take about three trains to get there. I was thinking that maybe there should be a bus or minivan for the team’s transportation if the games are so far away. It doesn’t even have to be to transport us, but to transport all of our bags and equipment,” she said.  

It’s evident that a lack of funding results in a lack of some necessities for a sports team to be successful and even impacts student interest.

Mr. Pullano, a gym/health teacher and coach at FSSA gave some insight on his coaching experience. He absolutely enjoys coaching sports teams at Sinatra, especially when seeing how much the hard work of student athletes pays off. However, Mr. Pullano did mention that there were some setbacks he experienced when coaching the soccer team. 

“It was constantly a battle to find field space to practice. We used to practice and play games at Flushing Meadows. Since it is a public park I would have to plead with people to share the field with us so we could practice,” he said. 

Without the appropriate resources for a sports team to practice, student athletes aren’t able to compete to their fullest potential.

The Baccalaureate School for Global Education, which is located around the block from FSSA, has utilized Sinatra’s gym for its basketball practices because it lacks appropriate space. If sports teams at Sinatra gained a little more attention maybe teams like the girls’ soccer team would have an appropriate space to practice, even if it meant borrowing another school’s field.

Also, if students see that their sports teams are supported with appropriate resources they’ll gain interest and feel eager to join the experience without doubts about the team winning. 

Another contributing factor could be not enough advertising for Sinatra’s sports teams. In a survey that was sent out to the school, data showed that 83.6 percent of the students that responded aren’t aware of when games occur, and the majority of them only attend games because of their friends or an extra credit opportunity in their academic classes, not because they’re truly interested in the sport or want to support the school. An additional 93.4 percent of the responders also agreed that sports at Sinatra should be advertised better. 

Mr. Pullano was one of the people that agreed that advertising for Sinatra’s sports teams should be improved.

“I do think sports could be better advertised at Sinatra. Oftentimes announcements about tryouts are made, but over the past few years this has been kept to a minimum,” Mr. Pullano said. 

More advertising for sports means more students will try out for teams and more students will attend games to show their support and help build some excitement surrounding Sinatra’s sports teams. But how can we improve advertising? 

“I think it would be great if we could team up with the art department to create posters or banners promoting the sports teams and tryouts. I think it would help spread the word about our teams here and help get more students interested,” Mr. Billera said.

Although many may argue that we cannot provide more for Sinatra’s sports teams because we need to focus on our studio classes as this is an arts school, sports are still something that should be made available to all students.

Sports should be a fun experience, but unfortunately factors like underfunding, little to no advertising, not enough practice time, and the lack of appropriate resources may prevent students from viewing it that way.

Sinatra’s sports teams could have a lot more potential if they were given more attention and funding. With all this taken into consideration it can be said that sports at Sinatra need to be improved. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those solely of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Bennett as a whole.