Balancing FON and athletics

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Festival of Nations (FON) is Townsend’s annual performance of international dances. Many FON groups begin practices after winter break, which is in the middle of the PSAL winter season. With students participating in both FON and their sports season, many athletes have found issues balancing the two activities.

Students in both FON and a team sport are often faced with scheduling problems due to FON practices, team practices, and other school activities. Athletes, in most cases, are faced with overlapped FON practices and daily sports practices. Junior Itamar Hindi said, “Being in the track team and FON has proven to be a challenge. We have practice everyday for track and it always overlaps with my FON practices.” Junior Sharon Jiang added, “[When practice times clash] it really forces you to choose between one or the other, and challenges your management abilities.” 

However, most athletes seem to have figured out how to allot time for each activity.  Junior Jayden Taveras said, “I have been able to consistently plan out my schedule with the coach. I would let him know of any difficulties ahead and vice versa with the FON leaders. I found that communication has been key and has allowed me to make time for both activities.” Itamar added, “I take time out to plan out my day and it has allowed me to maneuver around my activities.” 

As FON is going to be performed a total of four times this year, twice on Friday and twice on Saturday, student athletes are required to put in more dedication to FON than previous years. Despite most practices being held twice a week, many FON leaders are understanding and are willing to let athletes off the hook, occasionally. Senior Shirley Won, Chinese Modern leader, said, “For the most part I think that students who miss practices are fine occasionally. I understand that sports teams also require a dedication to their team. For the most part I am lenient and willing to help people who are absent during my free bands to catch them up with what they missed.” With this in mind, many athletes are given another chance to practice and learn a dance during free bands and lunch bands. “Luckily for me, I have 7th band free, so I can do make-up [practices],” said Sharon. 

FON is less than a month away, igniting a sense of urgency among FON leaders and members. Regardless of this growing pressure, athletes’ abilities to balance the two activities is commemorable. 

Photo by Derrick Chia.