By Mason Pendleton
In almost every high school career, sports and clubs play a large part in the social status and overall high school experience of every individual. The differences between each activity create a unique high school experience for each individual. But what makes a sport or an Esport or even a performance art?
Athletic Director Ken Sears speaks about the basics of a sport in his own definition, their importance to students and what sports are.
“I think the thing that makes a sport is whether it is competitive and requires strategy and, in most cases, physical exertion. I think having a winner and loser helps, but it’s not always required to be a sport. You can compete against yourself,” Sears said.
Being evaluated on a best throw is different than being assessed on a best flip. There are 20 sports available at Whiteland, which gives everyone a niche they can fit into.
Senior Landon Crook believes participation in sports will not only create a well rounded high school experience, but will also enhance a student’s chances for the future as well.
“If people want to further their athletic career, high school sports is the first step. It’s the first chance really anyone plays against consistently high level competition or at the very least competition at their skill level seriously and it’s something to take pride in,” Crook said.
A favorite activity doesn’t even need a ball or a scoreboard to represent the blood, sweat and passion that someone has chosen for their next four years. The Whiteland marching band is one of the largest in Johnson County, and each member strives for greatness. Over the course of a week during the summer, forty hours were spent practicing to best represent the school and to better themselves for their next opportunities. Senior Michael Parker shares his experience in the marching band.
“They are playing the art of music while also the sport of competing at band tournaments. And I think no matter how much exposure the school gives to the band, it will just unfortunately go over most people’s heads because it’s not football or basketball,” Parker said.
The Whiteland Marching Band was inaugurated, according to Pete Sampson, around the 1960s to the 1970s. Marching Bands have been seen around America as symbols of hard work and perfect coordination. Their shows demonstrate resilience and focus and provide a break from the entertaining roughness of a football game.
“Everything you do has to be memorized; your music, your exact dot on the field, where you are in a form and your choreography. You also have to maintain a strict, sometimes uncomfortable posture for near seven minutes straight,” Parker said. “The work you put in is exhausting. Whether it be working out in the sun, where people sometimes pass out, or if it’s out in the cold where you can barely move/feel your fingers, you still have to work through it or your entire show suffers.”
Esports are competitive video games that have an equal balance of skill and entertainment. They don’t necessarily require physical activity, but still require a focused mental state in a competition to be the best at a respective game. Things like reaction times to memorizing certain aspects of a respective game are what makes a player good; not just any game can be shoved into the roster. Many people still oppose Esports, but as of late, people are starting to embrace this alternative for people to enjoy time with friends and have a proper competition experience.
Crook supports the act of just enjoying the game for what it is.
“I don’t think Esports is really benefiting or harming society at all. It’s just fulfilling a niche for the people that want to play their favorite game at a major competitive level,” Crook said.
Esports have begun to see more of a fan base since around 1980, according to Foxsports.com. One of the first tournaments involved playing Space Invaders to win and it was hosted by the Atari gaming company. While games are not as physically demanding, the mental game presented by most players allows many people to enjoy the exhilaration of working with a team no matter their physical body structures.
Sears believes that Esports are beneficial as well.
“Esports or other virtual activities are probably good fun for some people who can’t or won’t do the actual physical sport,” Sears said “Esports could probably be a popular club if they had an adult to sponsor but I doubt they would fit into our athletic department right now.”
Instead of focusing on the friends and fun that someone has with a particular activity, labels of what makes a sport can sometimes hinder someone’s perspective.
Instead of focusing on what an activity isn’t, it’s better to appreciate every memory and opportunity students gain from their respective playing field. From the football player, to the marcher, to the gamer, sports are a large part of everyone’s life and should be respected as such.