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What Defines a “Sport?”

Courtesy+of+CHS+Yearbook
Courtesy of CHS Yearbook

Camas High School (CHS) offers and is consistently competitive in various sports. These include the typical volleyball, basketball and football, in addition to bowling and, this year, the Speech and Debate team. A clear distinction seems apparent between the former and ladder, however. Volleyball, for example, possesses a unique athletic demand that contrasts heavily with the just as fantastic skill set required to compete successfully in Speech and Debate. Despite these differences, CHS continues to class both under the ever-so-broad “sports” category, leaving many questioning what that label means. 

CHS Boys Tennis, courtesy of CHS Yearbook

At CHS, an activity is often classified as a sport not based on physical rigor but on the amount of time and skill it demands. These criteria thus encompass not only the more standard, societally emphasized sports but also the relatively niche, somewhat controversial events of Speech and Debate and bowling.

“Speech and Debate is just like any other sport since you need to practice regularly and have skill,” sophomore Kavya Ashok, the founder and president of CHS’s Speech and Debate team, said. 

Put into this context, the label seems to make quite a bit of sense. That being said, many at Camas still think calling these events sports is an incorrect classification.

“Is [bowling] a sport? Yeah. Is it a dumb sport? Yeah,” CHS junior Cole Babb said.

Adding to the issue, bowling and Speech and Debate titles also call into question the classification of other CHS activities for many students.

CHS Slow Pitch Softball, courtesy of CHS Yearbook

“If bowling’s a sport,” fellow junior Henry Gilbert said, “then lacrosse should be too, right?” Gilbert followed this with a call to action to increase CHS’s lacrosse team’s funding.

Realistically, whether or not these events are “truly” sports is not all that important in the long run as they serve such an essential role in the CHS community. They are a way for students to interact with others, offering a vital sense of community that is often hard to find. In many cases, they also help students develop increasingly essential skills, such as confidence in themselves and the team they compete with. 

When asked about her favorite aspects of Speech and Debate, junior Evelyn Sun responded, “Speech and Debate is a great opportunity for me to explore how I think and communicate.”

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Isabella Ricci, Staff Writer

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