The Oracle recommends new sports for Gunn athletics


Sport 1: Table Tennis

As an official tournament in the Olympics with an estimated 300 million players worldwide, table tennis has cemented itself as one of the world’s most prominent sports. Part of its popularity comes from its adaptability–table tennis requires little space and minimal equipment. The sport is friendly to new players: Anyone without prior experience can easily pick up a paddle since table tennis can be adapted to all skill levels. Participation in table tennis enhances hand-eye coordination and sharpens reflexes, improving players’ overall athletic capabilities. Furthermore, playing table tennis over a period of time is proven to positively influence neurological function. Studies from the European Journal of Sport Science found that table tennis engages multiple neural networks and regions in the brain, especially the regions that handle decision-making and motor skills. In addition to its neural benefits, table tennis yields considerable physical health gains. Its swift rallies challenge athletes’ stamina and reflexes. Furthermore, as a sport without physical contact, players do not risk many types of serious injuries that could otherwise happen. Table tennis also builds a high level of endurance because athletes train to maintain a consistent level of performance and focus during their matches. Gunn already boasts a robust table tennis player base and holds an annual student-organized tournament. Forming an official school team would allow players to pursue the sport more seriously, refine their skills by playing against others and create a social outlet for them to form new friendships and strengthen existing ones.

Sport 2: Futsal

Despite futsal’s basis on soccer, the indoor version of the world’s most popular sport involves high-paced action with more goal-scoring, dribbling and highlight-reel- worthy plays. Only five players from each side are on a futsal court at a time, so each player receives more touches. Furthermore, players comprise an integral part of their team’s offense and defense, encouraging positional versatility. In futsal matches, each half is only 20 minutes long and unlimited substitutions are allowed, which incentivizes teams to attack and counterattack more aggressively. Also, futsal is played on an indoor court roughly the size of a basketball court, which creates situations where space is tight and players have to rely on their skill and instinct to maneuver past defenders. Additionally, futsal players constantly make split-second in- game decisions due to the sport’s fast pace. Developing the ability to effectively make these decisions will improve athletes’ spatial awareness, which can be translated to many other sports. As flashy as the sport is, futsal maintains an emphasis on teamwork. In order to win the ball back on defense or send the ball into the back of the net, players must coordinate their movements and communicate constantly. Soccer players in particular receive valuable off-season training from futsal. Many of today’s most prominent professional soccer players acknowledge that playing futsal at a young age has helped them improve their skills, including Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. Futsal is a thrilling sport for its players, but it has garnered plenty of fans who also appreciate the game’s intricacies. As a spectator sport, futsal has everything that fans desire: short games, plenty of action and displays of skill and creativity. If added to Gunn, the sport will no doubt foster teamwork, indi- vidual prowess and a supportive fanbase for its athletes.