Playing Sports on Celebrated City Facilities
Friends Select has a long-standing tradition of using all that Philadelphia has to offer as a classroom. That practice extends to the athletics department, which uses the city’s celebrated fields and other sports venues. Just as Friends Select students are able to take advantage of the educational and cultural opportunities that arise from the school’s location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, student athletes are immersed in the city’s rich sports history during practices and games at facilities such as the Vesper Boat Club, Philadelphia Racquet Club, and Fairmount Park.
The upper school crew team uses the famed Vesper Boat Club on Philadelphia’s iconic Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River. Although it was founded in 1865 as a men’s club, Vesper organized the first women’s team in 1970. In addition, Vesper’s members—both male and female—have regularly won national and international rowing competitions, including the Olympics.
Friends Select’s middle and upper school squash teams practice at the Philadelphia Racquet Club. The club was founded in 1882 at 923 Walnut Street but was relocated when the current clubhouse was built in 1907. The club also housed the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame for a brief period.
Fairmount Park hosts various Friends Select teams. Middle and upper school baseball and softball teams play on the Dairy Fields, and the soccer team uses Edgely Fields. With more than 2,000 acres, Fairmount Park is also home to historic mansions, concert venues, and museums. It was even the site of the nation’s first official World’s Fair—the 1876 Centennial Exposition, which attracted approximately 10 million people.
Whether on the courts, the Schuylkill River, or the athletic fields, the city of Philadelphia remains an integral presence in the lives of Friends Select student athletes.