Surviving the Cut

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Many students are determined to become Wreckers, and their competitive spirits show when coming back for a second chance at tryouts.

In the mind of an athlete, it is a tragedy that is on par with a natural disaster. For anyone who has ever played a sport competitively, the fear of being cut is one of the most abhorred aspects of all of sports.

At Staples, the decision of whether or not to cut varies on a team-by-team basis, with the choice often coming down to the nature of the sport itself.

THE DECISION

“The biggest factor is the numbers that can possibly play on a team,” Staples Athletic Director Marty Lisevick said. “For example, we have cuts in basketball, because if you have 30 kids trying out for boys basketball, only five can play at a time so the norm there can be a team around 10-12 kids per team.”

Lisevick added that other sports, such as track or football, can have more players on the field at a time, which allows for larger team sizes and less, if any, kids that need to be cut.

Laddie Lawrence, the longtime track coach at Staples, agreed with Lisevick.

“I don’t cut anybody because the competitions in my sport have unlimited entries. As long as someone consistently shows up and works hard, I allow them to compete in the meets,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence went on to say that he has seen kids who were nothing special as underclassmen turn into all-FCIAC and all-State athletes because four years of hard work, which they would not have had an opportunity for had they been cut.

THE PROCESS

For the teams that do cut, the decision of who stays and who goes is typically decided after a vigorous round of tryouts.

“Tryouts are playing-based. We spend a lot of time watching players in game-like situations.We go through several rounds of cuts, and my assistant coaches, the JV coach and I are in constant communication about players,”  boys head soccer coach Dan Woog said.

Woog said that in addition to the coaches assessing the players, they also have impartial observants, such as alumni, who objectively analyze the players based solely on whether or not they think players can compete at the varsity level.

Other sports such as tennis, baseball, and volleyball, go through similar processes before finally making cuts.

COMING BACK

Many of those who get cut decide to either quit the sport altogether or try to find their niche in another sport. In addition to this majority, there are a tenacious few who return for another try.

One of these few, Lazaro Alvarado ’14, expressed that he was not dissuaded at all after not making the freshman soccer team.

“Although I got cut this year, I’m going to work hard all summer and try again next year,” Alvarado said.

Additionally, Grayson Weir ’14 expressed similar sentiments about being cut from the JV volleyball team, saying that with another year of playing experience, he’s confident his ability will improve enough to be selected.

“I’m definitely trying out again next year because I’m jealous of Ben Cion’s shmexy [sic] warm-up jersey,” Weir said.

If Weir and Alvarado are able to successfully come back, they would not be the first. After having made freshman and JV baseball his freshman and sophomore years, Chris Lametta ’11 found himself cut from the team as a junior.

“Last year I was very surprised at getting cut from the team,” Lametta said. “I was always good on the freshman and JV programs, but there were a lot of great players on the varsity level at my position, plus I didn’t have the greatest tryout.”

However, after taking the summer and fall seasons off, Lametta came back this year, made the team, and now finds himself being the starting designated hitter in a lineup that is nationally ranked.

“Once the tryouts started to approach this year I started to realize how much I missed being on the team, and I decided a week before tryouts that I would prove the coaches wrong,” Lametta said. “I feel awesome starting on the field and playing against the top teams in the FCIAC.”

Tryouts have both their critics and their supporters, it is acknowledged that judging players after only a few days of tryouts is tough, and at times the wrong decision regarding a players ability can be made.

“No system is perfect. The tryout process is tough on everyone,” Woog said. “But, by spending at least three or four tryouts before making even our first cuts, and not cutting anyone until we are sure we have seen him long enough, and in enough different game-like situations, we try to do our best.”

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