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HCA continuing to add sports even with COVID

Heritage Christian Academy is continuing to build its athletic offerings with the creation of several new programs in the past year.

The most recent additions include a new soccer program and new baseball program.

The focus of these programs is to teach the children the basics of the sport while intertwining Christian values into the practices and games.

Athletic Director John Stricker said the hope is to have the youngsters understand the basic elements of these sports so when the time comes there are enough athletes to form full, competitive teams.

“We may not have enough for a baseball team anytime soon, but we’re about get a batting cage. When they do have enough to play a game, at least our kids will know how to hit, catch and possibly pitch too. We’re doing things to develop kids and their techniques to where, hopefully, when they’re in high school they’ll have enough for a team and a foundation will be there,” Stricker said.

COVID-19 has presented numerous headaches when it comes to maintaining athletics and drumming up interest.

Stricker said a key part in gauging interest in a particular sport is through surveys that are sent to students and parents.

HCA can then look at the results and determine what programs should be next on the agenda.

In fact, it looks like HCA will be adding another sport next year after a significant portion of the students surveyed expressed interest in a flag football team.

The sport has grown in popularity recently because it allows children the opportunity to learn about the sport and its intricacies without exposing them to the possibility of injury that comes in full contact football.

Stricker said enough girls and boys showed interest that hopefully next year HCA will have a flag football program.

“Flag football is big in Louisiana. Even Drew Brees’ kids play flag football and not traditional football. There’s something to developing speed, catching, moves and cutting that allows you to do some of the same things you do when you put pads on without beating your body up. Flag football is on my to do list,” Stricker said.

In order to keep tuition at the current price, parents have to pay an athletic fee any time their child wants to participate in a sport.

That fee varies depending on the sport and the equipment necessary. There’s not a lot of equipment necessary for HCA’s dance team so the fee won’t be high, but for soccer where goals, balls, cones, uniforms and other supplies are needed the fee would be higher.

Stricker said as the school continues to grow and more programs are created the necessity of fundraisers will be more prominent for HCA.

However, the addition of more sports provides the students with access to fun, competitive activities that help them grow as athletes and people.

“I think all kids should be exposed to trying new things, but in the COVID world, I can tell you as an active person who’s always involved in sports, it was depressing to not have activities to go to. Now that things are becoming normal again, for me, it seems like life is turning a corner back to normal, so I’m assuming the kids felt the same way,” Stricker said.

There will also be a 5K and one-mile race for locals to participate in at the upcoming Street Festival. Stricker said those races will allow some of his athletes to take a shot at state records.

“We had a couple kids in from out of town that were trying to shoot for state records (last time) and missed, but we had some locals that made it. It’s something to look forward to for athletes that are in track, cross country or even soccer players,” Stricker said.