Fun, Rewarding or Both?

By Jeff Hutzler, director of athletics and physical education

Most would agree that participation in school sports should be fun, but athletes having fun is not enough. Playing La Jolla Country Day School sports should also be rewarding. Fun and reward are two different yet related aspects of athletic participation. While both are important for a positive experience; they serve different purposes, and they bring different benefits.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fun as “what provides amusement or enjoyment.” Rewarding is defined as “yielding or likely to yield, valuable.” Fun is pleasurable right from the jump, something that is felt in the moment. A day at the beach is fun. 

Rewarding experiences, however, often begin as unpleasant or are considered work before being followed by a payoff. Rewarding is felt after the fact. Witnessing an amazing view after a long, strenuous hike up a steep mountain is rewarding. And the thing about rewarding experiences is that once our students work through them, they are willing to work harder for a bigger reward and then are prepared to work even harder for an even greater reward

Both fun and rewarding play important roles in our students’ athletic experiences. Fun motivates them to try out for teams and to participate regularly. Fun keeps our students active and fit, helps them build camaraderie and a sense of community and can relieve stress. Fun gets and keeps our athletes on the field and court and into the pool so they can begin the work required to achieve rewards. 

The rewards of participating in Torrey Athletics are many. Students develop sound work habits, self-responsibility, responsibility to others, self-sacrifice, delayed gratification and teamwork through playing sports. They learn to overcome fears, attack challenges, set goals, pursue excellence and, maybe most importantly, be a part of something greater than themselves. And though it may take work and time to achieve them, these rewards are life lessons that our athletes will apply to other areas of their lives away from the field, court and pool.

While enjoying their participation in athletics—having fun—motivates our students to play sports, that is only the beginning. LJCDS sports should be more than fun. The Torrey athletic experience should be rewarding.

Jeff Hutzler
Jeff Hutzler

Director of Athletics and Physical Education

Jeff Hutzler is the winningest football coach in the school’s history, with a won-loss record of 101–37 from 2002–2013. His teams claimed six league and three CIF Championships. After playing eight-man football from 2001–2004 and returning to 11-man football in the Pacific League in 2005, the Torreys rejoined the Coastal League, California’s most competitive small-school football league, in the fall of 2011. Coach Hutzler was honored as one of California’s 13 model coaches in 2009. During Coach Hutzler’s tenure, 207 championship banners have gone up in Smith Gymnasium.

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