CEDAR RAPIDS – Metro High School has been well known throughout the community for offering an alternative to traditional high school, but did you know they have a basketball team and a volleyball team?
Students stood with ear to ear smiles on 12th Avenue SE outside of Metro High School Saturday, with handmade signs advertising a Hog Wash to support the school’s growing athletics program. The Hog Wash was a car wash offering “famous” barbecue pork sandwiches that could be smelled almost down to the street.
Metro’s athletic department currently consists of a volleyball and a basketball team, and plays teams in either home school or religious leagues. Since the athletics program is only several years old and cannot play area schools like those in the Cedar Rapids School District, it can be tough to get a high attendance rate as well as to find other area teams to play – the number one complaint of many Metro student athletes.
Metro’s athletic programs play a limited number of teams each season, but regardless of competitor variation, Metro senior Michelle Brisbine ”couldn’t imagine what she’d do without it.”
This is her second year playing volleyball for Metro, and mentions she had a small number of friends prior to joining the volleyball team, but now her friends circle has dramatically expanded. “I love the volleyball team,” Brisbine said with a smile. “Everyone works hard as a team, and if we get frustrated we can shake it off.”
Metro junior Zach Clark has been a part of the basketball team for two years, and varies playing position each game. He adds he enjoys playing small forward the most, and has learned not to take the smaller teams for granted.
“You’d think they wouldn’t be good because they’re small,” Clark said. “But they’re pretty good.”
Clark attended Jefferson High School before enrolling at Metro, and enjoys the program here much better because he gets more playing time, as well as more one-on-one time with the coaches. He hopes the program will continue to grow so the team can go on more road trips, and they’ll be able to play more teams.
“When we get back they announce what place we got and star players get to be on the computer screens throughout the school,” Clark said.
The basketball team plays about 23 games in the November-February season, including games played at tournaments. With the limited number of matches and starting positions, the love of the game can act as an incentive for students to excel not only in athletics, but academically.
“We like to look at their attendance in school and at practice,” language arts teacher and volleyball coach Erin Payne-Christiansen said. “Lastly, we look at skill.”
“You’d be amazed to see a student have barely any attendance one trimester, and perfect attendance the next,” she added.
Since Metro used to be an elementary school, the gym is not able to host competitive sports matches or even assemblies due to the space. In the meantime, the school has been renting the Jane Boyd Community House across the street for most practices and games.
“We do get district support,” language arts teacher and assistant basketball coach Ben Sparboe said. “But we put things on like this to help meet them halfway.”
Principal Dr. David Brown hopes to make Metro the “alternative, alternative high school,” and would love to improve the current gym, but the money isn’t readily available. “I want the kids to play in the gym and feel proud of their school,” Brown said.
“But you gotta crawl before you can walk.”