By Natalie Mack
Sports teams at Nantucket High School are a sacred and essential tradition. So, as you can imagine, going into a new school year during a pandemic was worrisome for many NHS athletes. “Going into my senior year of field hockey, I was very apprehensive if we were having a season at all. Field hockey is my favorite sport out of my three, and it’s a great way to kick off every school year as I’ve been playing high school level since eighth grade. After losing so much, I was anticipating no season at all. Throughout losing a junior prom, junior mister, end of a school year, and virtual for the beginning of the school year this year, I was numb to the idea of not being able to finish out my favorite sport,” current Senior Camie Strojny expressed.
For many young athletes, the term “intramural sports” was not one in their vocabulary before this school year. That was until NHS’s athletic director, Chris Maury, presented this new way of playing school sports to the NHS athletes and their families. Intramural sports means young athletes can play against their teammates rather than traveling off the island or having other teams come to the island, per usual. These parameters were slightly different for each sport. Some sports split into three teams and rotated who played each other, while other teams only had two. “With all of the athletic department’s hard work, I was thrilled to have the chance to play an intramural season. I would even say the intramural season was more memorable than a traditional interscholastic season. The team grew closer and there were more opportunities to do activities that weren’t related to drills and preparing for upcoming games,” Strojny added. Intramural sports are certainly not like the regular sports we all know and love. However, for most young athletes being able to do the sport they love is more important than who they’re playing against.
One fact parents, players, and coaches at Nantucket High School can’t deny, is that these sports seasons, and previous seasons, wouldn’t have been possible without Coach Chris Maury. Maury is Nantucket High Schools Athletic Director. He has been in this position for 13 years, starting in July of 2008, while coaching the Girls’ Softball Team for the last 28 years. Before obtaining his Athletic Director position, Maury owned and ran his own design-build construction business, on Nantucket.
“My wife Beth and I still run this business on a smaller property management scale.” Maury shared. Maury was born and raised on Nantucket, graduating from NHS in 1971. He attended and graduated from Clemson University School of Architecture with a degree in Construction Management and a minor in Architecture. As many can imagine, working during a pandemic is challenging. Being an athletic director is additionally difficult primarily because there are so many unknowns. From case surges to given restrictions, organizing a way for students to play their sport or sports of choice seems merely impossible. At the beginning of the school year, there were so many unknowns as to how sports seasons will go, if at all. Nantucket High School coaches, athletes, and fans put their faith in Coach Maury, in hopes he would steer them in the right direction.
“There have been many challenges that have been necessary to meet with the presence of the COVID-19 virus this year. I think probably the biggest has been to convince all just how important providing athletics and activities are for the well being of our students and student-athletes. Our students have had to make countless sacrifices over the past 7 months. Anything we can do to give some little piece of normal back to our kids is completely worth the effort.” Maury stated. Just as Maury mentioned, athletics are an important part of many NHS students’ lives, and not being able to do so could have negatively impacted many student-athletes.
“I appreciate Mr. Maury for working hard and putting together a winter’s sports season for all the students and am hopeful that the Fall II season will happen in the near future,” sophomore football player Ian Williams added. Maury strives to make each athletic season a success. It is clear he strived to do so, even more, this school year.
“Mr. Maury is an outstanding Athletic Director and an essential asset to our district. From the first day I started working by his side 12 years ago, he has always had the student-athletes best interests in mind. He is a true supporter and advocate for our student-athletes. He has laid an amazing foundation for our Athletic Department on Nantucket and is very apparent that his beliefs and values carry over to our student-athletes. He is, in my mind, your definition of Whaler Pride!” the Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director Travis Lombardi stated.
Similarly, Head Field Hockey Coach, Daniel Webber added, “Mr. Maury is an excellent athletic director. He is a great resource for both players and coaches and he is passionate about providing ample opportunities for our student-athletes.” As mentioned by his players, coaches, and co-workers, Maury is a hard-working, dedicated, and caring individual who deserves to be praised and appreciated for his hard work and efforts to make these current and past sports seasons an enjoyable experience for all.