That was the case last Thursday when students from Lafayette High School left their books behind and made their way onto a football field lined with obstacles as part of a Spartan Race.
In recent years, the sport of obstacle racing has grown in popularity and the students were able to challenge themselves at a “high school” version of the real thing.
The obstacles included flipping a 650-pound tire, getting over a five-foot wall, crawling through a rubber tube and ending with a minute of “burpies.”
The larger version of the Spartan Race takes place on a three-mile course that feature obstacles with fire, electricity and even barbed wire. However, none of those were on hand for the high schoolers.
Instead, the idea was to teach the students camaraderie and that you can’t expect to be ready for every obstacle that life will throw your way.
Five schools operate on the grounds of the Lafayette Education Complex at 2630 Benson Avenue in Gravesend, but the High School of Sports Management was the one behind the obstacle course on school grounds.
“I think through sports you can accomplish many things,” said Principal Robin Pitts. “So with a campus that's divided up into five schools sometimes children don’t get to see each other, so the best way to bring unity on a school campus is though sports.”
Pitts went on to thank the Reebok Spartan Race for approaching the high school and asking them if they would be willing to allow the students to attempt to conquer the course.
“The skills that kids really learn don’t really come out of the textbook,” said Pitts. “They come through relationships with people. Whether the relationship are with their classmates or with adults in a building, it’s really about the nurturing and how we make better citizens.”
One student from the Exceptional Learning School for Community Leaders, Eddie Luca, 17, ran the course twice. During his second trip, one of his friends was struggling to complete the last challenge of burpies. Luca, along with other members of the five schools did the challenge along side the student and cheered him on as he completed the last leg of the Spartan Challenge.
“I saw my friends, and they were struggling,” he said. “I have to push them and make sure that they go harder. You know you don’t want anybody to quit.”
When asked what he learned from the obstacle course, Luca said to push to one’s best and never give up.
Don Devaney a representative from Spartan Race, gave a speech telling the students that the course was a metaphor for life. And that life gives individuals obstacles they might not be prepared for, but that still need to be conquered.
“We create challenges that bring obstacle immunity to people,” said Devaney.