Varsity Letters: What Should Dictate Who Wins What?

Lindsey DeBruin, staff writer

Almost all sports are more of a mental game than physical exertion. If the right mindset to succeed is not possessed, winning can be almost impossible. Keeping in mind the amount of brain power that goes into “real” sports, what should prohibit activities such a theater, band, and debate from earning a varsity letter as well?

In some cases, mental exertion can be more laboring than exercising the body. Just imagine trying to think of a counter point for an argument while running cross country. What about rowing while reciting lines with the same enthusiasm as the lead roles of schools plays? There are few people who can say they could successfully complete these tasks simultaneously, considering the level of difficulty of both. This proves that each can be challenging, so why is only the activity that involves physical motion considered worthy of a varsity letter?

If you weren’t involved with either the band, debate team, robotics club or theater why would it be so disheartening if these extracurriculars received a varsity letter for their participation? If it doesn’t have a direct impact on you, then being outraged about the award is unreasonable. Even if it doesn’t correspond to a singular perspective of what is deserving of a varsity letter does not mean you should have the power to take it away from someone who works just as hard for that award as you do.

Many of the members of these various clubs put in just as many hours of work and practice, if not more, than typical sports teams. Band practices tirelessly during the late summer months and well throughout the school year. Debate team spends hours preparing and practicing their arguments for upcoming debates. Theater takes up a good portion of students afternoons and nights during preparation for school productions, some rehearsals going on for well over 4 hours. Months go by while robotics team programs and calculates, in addition to typical school work. During those minutes, hours, days taken up by those three activities fatigue is expected to set in.

Considering the time commitment that goes along with participating in said extracurricular activities, many of the students involved just don’t have the ability to add on two-plus hours of sports practice onto their already packed schedule. Sacrificing a spot on a varsity level team to take part in something such as robotics takes unmatched dedication. If a varsity letter is no longer an option in the many clubs listed, gone is the potential to receive maybe the only varsity letter that individual participant can earn for the duration of their high school career.

There has also been dispute over whether no-cut sports should be awarded varsity letters as well. What they fail to realize is, along with the previous clubs mentioned, one is not automatically given a letter just for being on the team. For water polo you have to be pulled up to the varsity team by the coach. In crew you have to be put in a varsity boat by the coach. For swim you must place 16th or higher at conference. Contrary to popular belief, the same amount of dedication and sacrifice has to be put in just like every other sport. For the extracurriculars such as theater, participation for more than one year or so along with other criteria is required to be eligible for a varsity letter.

Sports are not limited to the ones that require a ball or a referee. A sport is defined as anything that involves skill and competition, a mold that all varsity letter holders fit. Hard work deserves recognition and taking that validation away from someone just based on personal opinions is unjust. Imagine the riots that would take place if football or basketball players were no longer awarded varsity letter. Hard work deserves recognition whether it parallels your individual rules or not.