DDF: Which Kind of Letter Is Appropriate?

Drama, Debate and Forensics (DDF) is an activity that can warrant an athletic letter in the Anchorage School District.

There is no classification between Junior Varsity and Varsity which would then qualify for a Varsity letter, just a giant participation trophy, if you will.

But the problem with the giving out of the Varsity letter to DDF participants is a letter is what’s given out as an award to athletes for completing a season of varsity sports.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.”

Based on that definition DDF would not be considered a sport.

Nate Normandin, a long-time running and skiing coach, was asked to define a sport in his own words.

“All forms of human competitive physical activity. I prefer things that aren’t subjective,” he said.

Normandin later went on to say “I have a hard time with sports that are judged because judges can be subjective.”

This brings up an interesting point that not only is DDF unathletic, but there are winners and losers based on a panel of judges.

The same question was posed to Keegan Blain, a junior and a current DDF participant for the last two seasons.

“I believe that a sport is an athletic activity that is played for fun, and can be competed in,” Blain said.

One thing that Normandin and Blain both agree that athletic is an important word in the description of a sport.

Blain was then asked if DDF falls into this category.

“Drama Debate and Forensics is fun for a lot of its participants and is very competitive. It also takes a lot of time and dedication but ultimately no, I would not consider it a sport, but I find it very similar.”

Carter Moore is a junior and a two-time varsity basketball player who was part of last season’s state championship team. He was given the same question.

“ A sport is a physical and mental competition. It is a measure of skill and physical and mental preparation,” he said.

He was then asked about if DDF is a sport as well.

“It has no measure of physicality whatsoever. It is an insult to real athletes who work hard and train their bodies to put DDF kids in the same category. I acknowledge that DDF kids do put work in too, but it is not accurate for that to justify it as being a sport,” he said.

I work hard at washing buses for a job but you don’t recognize me as an athlete for my squeegeeing. I have spent countless hours in the gym my entire life to be able to compete at the level that I do. To me it is insulting to be lumped into the same category of physical achievement,” he said.

The logical solution to this problem is to give DDF participants an academic letter as compensation for their hard work. But not a Varsity letter.