- Written by Susie Caliendo
- Published: 26 December 2012
Communication is fundamental to success in many aspects of life, especially in sports. In a sport like skiing, where the playing field is a mountain, contact between coaches and teammates is crucial. Coaches and teammates must interact to ensure the safety of all members of the team, and also for instruction purposes. When the Duxbury High School Ski Team approached the Duxbury Boosters requesting a grant to fund a pair of two-way radios, the Boosters recognized the need for these devices and didn’t hesitate.
Coach Kevin Nolan is in his sixth year as head coach of the Duxbury High School ski team and has been with the team from the beginning. He was an assistant under then Coach Alec Petro when the team began competing in the 2004-2005 season. Kevin’s daughter, Abby Nolan, is now in her second year as the assistant coach. Abby was on the Duxbury High School ski team in its inaugural year when she was a sophomore at Duxbury High School. The team had 12 members then, but is now even bigger than ever with 50 members.
The Nolan’s are a skiing family and Abby says some of her best memories were made on the mountains. She speaks fondly of friendships formed on the Duxbury High School ski team, and the camaraderie of teammates who she still keeps in touch with. Abby says her dad was always her “number one coach” and for her to be able to coach with him is very special.
Assistant Coach Nolan says the two-way radios are helpful when she is setting the course or giving pointers. The two-way radio is designed so that it can be strapped onto a jacket where it can attach to a cord and a microphone for easier access to communication. This way Coach Nolan doesn’t have to worry about the radio being dropped or lost. With so many kids on the team it is important to know who is where. There is usually another team sharing the course during practices, so skiers often separate when practicing the slalom and giant slalom alpine racing.
Ski meets don’t start until after Christmas vacation, so two days a week the ski team has been practicing what Abby calls “dry land training” behind the high school. This involves drills to bond the team, build morale and stay in shape. This also gives Abby a chance to get to know the young men and women on the team. Dry land training can consist of anything from sit ups and stretching to running drills and playing capture the flag.
Most meets take place at Blue Hills in Canton where the varsity team races on Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays the team practices at Blue Hills. There are three junior varsity races a year, and if you are not on varsity then you are on junior varsity. Coach Nolan and his assistant will try to rotate players to give as many people as possible a chance to compete at the varsity level. Last year the boys’ team did really well and made it to States, and this year Abby expects the girls’ team to be very strong too. The ski team is made up of roughly 20 girls and 30 boys.
The ski team has already been hard at work selling poinsettias as a fundraiser to pay for their ski passes. The athletic department funds ski passes on race days, but the skiers are responsible for their ski passes on practice days. The ski team sold $6,000 worth of poinsettias, which was enough to cover the cost of ski passes for the entire team for the season.
A long term goal for Abby is to get GS Suits for the ski team. Many teams have them and they make it easier to identify the skiers when they are coming down the hill. A uniform look also adds to team unity and the design of the GS Suit helps with speed and aerodynamics. GS Suits run about $150 to $200 and Abby says they would need 16 suits. It is on her “wish list” says Abby.
Senior captain Pat Brady says he is hoping for “a snowy winter with optimal conditions for ski meets.” Last year there wasn’t much snow and the course was very icy during some of the meets. Luckily the team was able to get in all of their meets last season, but a nice base of white powder would be a great way for the ski team to start the year off. The Duxbury Boosters are proud to support the Duxbury High School ski team, and funding the two-way radios is one of the many ways the Boosters gives back to the Duxbury High School athletic programs.