Opposing Viewpoints: Are Varsity Letter Requirements Fair?

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The varsity letter requirements are unfair and inconsistent throughout CHS sports

Varsity letters are given to athletes when they have a major accomplishment such as going to sectionals or breaking a new record. However, varsity letters are easier to get in some sports, making it feel like less of an accomplishment to some. The inconsistencies of acquiring a varsity letter within different sports is a valid source of frustration for hundreds of student athletes across CHS. Some sports even have managers, athletic trainers, or other non-athlete positions get varsity letters as well. 

An example of the intense requirements to get a varsity letter can be seen in soccer and cross country. In girls’ cross country, varsity athletes who run a 5K in under 21 minutes or are one of the top 14 runners (who go to sectionals) are the only ones to get a letter. In soccer, making the varsity team is very challenging as there are limited spots and the sport is very competitive in our area due to a high concentration of soccer clubs. However, when these athletes accomplish these things they feel less important because in other sports varsity letters are far easier to get. For example, in track and field if you participate for all four years you automatically get a varsity letter. 

 Trainers and managers can also get varsity letters in some sports at CHS. While students putting time and effort into the sport should still be acknowledged, these positions deserve a different form of recognition for their hard work because the current system unfairly equates the work of an athlete with that of a manager or trainer. Because of these inconsistencies beyond students’ control, the system for giving varsity letters needs to be fundamentally changed to reward athletes for their hard work.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Maggie Meyer at [email protected]

The varsity letter requirements are more inclusive as they allow hard work to be rewarded

A varsity letter, at its core, is a reflection of hard work and commitment. No matter what a student gets a varsity letter in, they haven’t just been handed it. While all sports have different requirements for athletes to receive varsity letters, all reflect the best of the best in their field. Typically, people will say that managers, athletic trainers, and eSports team members should not get varsity letters because they don’t contribute athletic skill to a team. But, the thought that you can only get an award for hard work and dedication to a team can only come through contributing your athletic ability is far outdated. 

By saying this, shouldn’t we also wonder why marching band members can get varsity letters. After all, they don’t have to try out. Yet, many agree that they should get varsity letters due to their time commitment and skills. Managers, athletic trainers, and eSports players all have unique skills and must meet a standard that allows them to get a varsity letter. The most under-the-radar role in high school athletics belongs to student managers and athletic trainers. They must be at almost all (varies by sport) practices and games and they come before the game and stay after to ensure that the players have the best opportunities to shine. While they do not directly contribute to the outcome of games they ensure the best chance for success for our teams. 

eSports players also have to practice and go to competitions. Many will joke that they are “just playing video games” but it takes unique skill to be able to compete at the level that the team does. I could also diminish soccer to “just kicking a ball”, but there is consensus that the players at CHS play at such a high level deserving of the award. 

Managerial and student athletic trainer positions also allow a place for students, who may have been sidelined by a variety of health and other reasons, to still be a part of the team. The involvement in these positions should not be diminished and it is important to recognize their importance and dedication by awarding them varsity letters when they prove themselves by meeting the required criteria.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Ali Persinger at [email protected]

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