Berkeley High School’s (BHS) diverse community is exemplified through the different hobbies and activities that take place on campus. This includes the group of students regularly found partaking in sports on the Jacket field at lunch. They play a variety of games; soccer, ultimate frisbee, and football are a few favorites. This group, a couple dozen athletes in size, mainly consists of enthusiastic underclassmen looking to engage with their peers and meet new people. However, it also appeals to students who play sports apart from their lunchtime fix, as well as students purely intent on exercising their bodies in the midday atmosphere.
Nunzio Burley, a student in Universal Ninth Grade (U9) who swims and plays soccer outside of school, spends most lunches on the field. He said, “The field is a cool place to sit down, eat lunch, play sports, do homework as well.”
Not only are there crowds of people actively involved in kicking a ball or tossing a disc back and forth, but there are also many lively groups of friends on the sidelines, enjoying one another’s company and joking around.
“Going with friends and people I know definitely changes the atmosphere,” Burley said, adding, “That is not to say there aren’t opportunities to meet new people, or at least have a different experience. One of the ways I have made a few connections has been through just throwing myself into a game of soccer or football on the field.”
The enthusiasm on the field surrounding sports is very apparent in the bustling conversations, shouts to teammates, peers weaving through each other to score, and friendly passes back and forth, emulating a general contentment in being there. Robert Garvey, a ninth grader who plays Ultimate for the school, stated, “It’s nice to be outside during lunch instead of sitting down.” This environment has a range of competitiveness and athleticism. Though it mainly consists of underclassmen, there are plenty of experienced athletes. Vinicius Domenico, a sophomore in Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA) who spends lunch on the field roughly 2 to 3 times a week, said, “People can be competitive, we’re all just trying to have a good time.” He added, “The reason I’m out here is [that] the community we built makes it a really fun place to play sports.”
This idea of a “student-built community” speaks to many, while it demonstrates how sports can bring people together. Domenico said, “I’d say that it gives a lot of people new opportunities to have fun and make new friends. Definitely if you go out on the field for a little you will instantly find some new people.”
The variety of students shown on the field is what makes this such a supportive community. They invite others to join no matter the experience, skill level, grade, or background, and their infectious enthusiasm keeps students coming back.