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Capture the Flag: Should it be an IHSAA sanctioned sport?

Kyle Crawford

Kyle Crawford


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Alright, with this being my final blog post, I have decided to cover a sport that is massively popular in video games as well as a favorite of schoolchildren when they are outside on a sunny day. And that game is Capture the Flag.


For those that don’t know what capture the flag is, let me give you a brief synopsis: Capture the Flag involves 2 teams facing off against one another in a quest to capture the other side’s flags while defending their own. Of course, if you fail, you either go to jail or you go back to your team’s side. The first team to capture the opposing side’s flags first OR the first team to capture the opposing side’s flag a predetermined number of times wins.


Because of the simplicity of the game, it has been used in countless video games as well as by many children looking for something to do when the parents locked the kids out so they can’t play video games (which more parents honestly should do, in my opinion). The video games that use Capture the Flag, or CTF for short, is Unreal Tournament (Capture the Flag is such a staple in Unreal Tournament it is called “the most beloved sport in Unreal Tournament”), World of Warcraft (2 battlegrounds use the CTF playstyle, including Warsong Gulch), RIFT (Whitefall Steppes used to be a pure CTF battleground), Wildstar, and countless others. In addition, CTF is the second most loved unit in P.E. class at Carmel Middle School, after Mat Kickball.


But despite all of this love by schoolchildren and by video games, and the fact that the rules are so simple that kids and grown-ups of all ages can play it, it is still not recognized as an IHSAA sanctioned sport, despite the fact that many schools use it as an intramural sport, and many clubs use CTF as a fun game before meetings. So, today I’m going to answer the question: Should Capture the Flag be an IHSAA sanctioned sport?


I spent the past week interviewing folks here at the high school. Let me offer you two of the transcripts:


Mr. Meyer, Special Services Teacher: “No, but I would definitely sponsor it. And while it’s popular in intramurals, I don’t think we would have enough turnout if we sanctioned it.


Mr. Johnson, Instructional Assistant: “Yes. Considering how the Olympics has added unconventional sports in the past 50 years, I could see it as filling the gap, both in the Olympics and in the IHSAA.”


So after spending the past week interviewing folks, pooling together various arguments, and some general research, I’ve reached my conclusion: Yes and no.


Yes, we should have CTF as a sport, but not in the IHSAA. The problem is, what rules would we implement to keep high school kids safe? How would we eliminate tackling? Too many things to consider it for use in the IHSAA.


However, as Mr. Johnson said, I would love to see it in the Olympics, considering how it’s added unconventional sports in the past.
In conclusion, while the sport might not be fit for high schools, there is nothing that should stop it from being in the Olympics. Case closed.


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