Is There Hope Yet for a Walls Football Team?
At the heart of many high schools’ spirit lies an overwhelming passion for their football team. Although football is highly regarded within the D.C. area, School Without Walls has been without a team since its opening in 1971. This fact, coupled with the new students entering School Without Walls, has raised interest in the possibility of forming a football team.
In the past, attempts at creating a Walls football team have been largely unsuccessful. Julian Andrade (‘26) believes this is because of students’ “lack of commitment and passion.” He explained that, “No one yet has taken the opportunity serious enough to show up for the football program.”
One major reason for the lack of commitment is the football season conflicting with other DCIAA sports seasons. A substantial number of athletes are drawn to the soccer team, and their season kicks off just as fall begins, coinciding with the football schedule. This makes it nearly impossible for Walls soccer athletes to fully participate in football without skipping games on the soccer team.
But lack of commitment isn’t the only issue. According to SWW Athletic Director Kip Smith, starting a full-contact football team is “very unlikely,” because of Walls’ “lack of facilities and resources.” In addition, he said that Walls’ lack of a field and lack of “people of interest to participate” would make it extremely difficult. Walls also has a relatively smaller student body, meaning a smaller pool of potential players. Still, there are students who are passionate about the sport at Walls. “All I want to do is play football, that's one of the only things that interests me,” said Andrade.
Although the odds of the immediate formation of a contact football team seem relatively low, there is still hope. Some students at Walls refuse to back down this easily, reflecting their passion for the sport.
“If you give us this opportunity now, we would play without a second thought,” Andrade said.
In fact, some students at SWW have chosen to practice with the girls flag-football team as a means of pursuing their love for the sport, sparking the idea of starting a boys flag team. This sort of passion has spread to other students, including Zahid Mohamed (‘26), who has resorted to playing football at Jackson-Reed, since “Walls isn’t really capable of having a team.” Regarding the prospect of a Walls flag-football team, Mohamed said he “would definitely participate.”
Mr. Smith said of a flag team, “I’ve had several students with interest, and it is a possibility.” Granted that flag-football is not the ideal outcome for several Walls athletes wishing to participate, it is surely a start.