INSIGHT: Athletics Culture at EPS

By Kim Eng, Director of Athletics

Eastside Prep takes great pride in its unique approach to sports culture. Unlike many traditional athletic programs, EPS prioritizes education-based athletics, focusing not only on the competitive aspects of sports, but putting a greater emphasis on character development, sportsmanship, and the overall well-being of our student-athletes. EPS sports culture encompasses everything from how our athletes compete, how our fans behave, and how our sports are organized to how we represent ourselves both on and off the field.

At EPS, we consider athletics as an extension of the classroom—an educational activity that teaches life lessons. Our coaches take an active role in the creation of their team culture. We stress the importance of skill development, teamwork, and personal growth while holding our athletes to the highest standards of sportsmanship, commitment, resilience, and dedication. Winning is celebrated, but it is not the sole measure of success, and our coaches teach more than the X’s and O’s. EPS sports is intended to prepare our students for the next level of life…not the next level of athletics.

Our hopes and goals for our program are simple:

  • that we are creating an environment where all students—of all ability levels—can play sports, ranging from brand-new beginners to diehard college-bound athletes,
  • that our students feel a true sense of pride in being an EPS Eagle,
  • that all students, parents/guardians, and coaches learn to win and lose gracefully,
  • that we continue to build programs, set records, and make EPS history,
  • that our MS students look up to our US athletes and aspire to be them one day,
  •  that all students and parents/guardians buy into what we are doing and why we are doing it.

When I think about our most successful seasons, my mind doesn’t go to our win/loss record or how deep into playoffs we went. I look back and ask myself, Did our athletes learn the skills and fundamentals of their sport? Were they supportive teammates? Were they good opponents? Did our athletes and coaches respect our officials? And most importantly…did our athletes have fun? If all those outcomes are met, we will have a successful season!

Eastside Prep’s sports culture is a shining example of how athletics can be an integral part of education. By emphasizing values, and the way we play, watch, organize, and represent ourselves, EPS Sports instills lifelong lessons in its students. While it’s always nice to win championships, as Mary Lou Retton once said, “Trophies collect dust, but memories last forever.”