Why IM Squash Should Exist
Luke Carroll & Kevin Jiang
Intramural programs at Belmont Hill are under attack. Across the board, the school has tightened policy regarding any IM Sports. Recently, IM Basketball and Tennis were canceled. Squash cannot be next. If we don’t take a stand now, our school will lack accommodation for any type of student (extracurricular or outside-sport oriented) other than those who play a strong sport in each and every season. IM Squash isn’t about preserving a more easy-going sport for some Middle School students; it’s about our freedom to choose as a student body and our identity as an accepting school. Both of those should be non-negotiable, yet we still need to work to defend them to this day. Intramural Squash preserves our right to choose as students, improves our school’s identity and reputation, and allows for a flourishing extracurricular community.
As a student body, we have earned the right to choose between levels of sports according to our own needs and wants. If the school were to continue its aggressive policy against intramural sports, our right to choose would be squandered. IM Squash is the best example of students using this right. From former hockey players to skiers, IM Squash is the only place to find exercise without overwhelming and often unnecessary competition. The fact that intramural programs like Squash don’t exist in other seasons for Lower Schoolers should be considered tragic. Not only does it force students to invest more time and energy into sports that they aren’t passionate about, but they have to forgo extracurricular activities that would actually be to their benefit. Intramural sports aren’t a luxury, but a right. From the perspective of a student, any elimination of these programs should be intolerable.
As an entire community, retaining our IM programs attracts students with a diverse set of passions, and betters our reputation outside of the school. Applying students are often pushed back by Belmont Hill’s mandatory sports. The only remedy to that issue, though, is to offer intramural programs, which are far less commitment but still allow students to adequately exercise. Belmont Hill is known for both its incredible academics and athletics, and we shouldn’t risk harming that reputation by scaring off potential students that may not have an interest in some sports. Secondly, Belmont Hill’s reputation could be damaged if it is isolated as a purely athletic school with little inclusion. IM programs are again the solution to showcase our healthy balance of academics and athletics. Any action to tip the scale toward athletics could permanently harm our identity as a school. That shouldn’t be something we as a school risk in the hopes of somehow bettering our already outstanding athletics.
Today, Belmont Hill’s extracurriculars are stronger than ever. With over 50 clubs and other activities, students have access to anything that interests them. However, that may soon change. In a high-stress environment like Belmont Hill, it is a miracle that students can even participate in these activities. If students can take even one season to play an intramural sport with less commitment, it frees up time for these valuable extracurriculars. The intramural option should always be available. If our IM programs were eliminated, it would disrupt the careful balance between athletics and academics that Belmont Hill has so gracefully mastered over time.
Intramural sports are necessary in our community. They provide freedom for students who want to develop themselves in extracurriculars, and even improve Belmont Hill’s reputation. Our responsibility as a school is to let everyone in the community grow, and the only way to allow that is to allow choice. It is absolutely in the best interest of the school and all of its students to keep our intramural programs and preserve the values our community has held for nearly a century.