In Defense of the JV Athlete

The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Holderness School.  The Picador serves to stimulate discourse through the thoughtful and respectful exchange of ideas and recognizes that a range of perspectives must be considered in order to foster such discourse. 


At every level of Holderness athletics, whether it be junior varsity or varsity, one can find dedicated athletes with a passion for the sport they play, and it’s usually the same for the coaches of these teams. Although the time commitments are not equal, there are plenty of JV athletes who commit time and effort to improve not only at the specific sport they play but also as athletes in general.


It makes it more challenging for these athletes when many don’t take them quite as seriously because of their level of competition. This sort of thinking is hopefully rare at Holderness. It is concerning, though, when even the referees fail to take the sport seriously. For example, at the JV2 soccer game on KUA Day, the Wildcats had two players with the same numbered jersey, which caused confusion for the Holderness players. This act in itself was not a big deal. Rather it was how the referee responded to our questions about the jerseys, and to most of the other fouls and what we perceived as bad calls. It can be summed up in only a few words — “It’s JV, guys” was his usual response. Although this may be an outlier, it further perpetuates an atmosphere of irrelevance that can put off young athletes trying to develop and improve their games.


I am fully aware that, yes, it isn’t quite as high stakes as the varsity level, but it would be an improvement for the referees to take the game as seriously as the players do. Plenty of players have started at the JV level and built themselves into varsity caliber athletes. We seek to foster an atmosphere of competitiveness instead of one of apathy that does no good for anybody.