New Opportunities in OSSAA: eSports and Academic Bowl

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As Casady has applied for admission to the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activity Association (OSSAA), the school has also opened the door to many new opportunities, most notably, e-Sports and Academic Bowl. 

I chatted with Mr. Sheldon about what these new opportunities might look like at Casady as we venture into the unknown.  

We discussed eSports and how it is captured many people’s attention. eSports is a new activity for all schools participating in OSSAA. Just this September, the OSSAA board voted to make esports a competitive activity. Some games that e-athletes might be able to compete in are League of Legends, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, and FIFA 21.

As Mr. Sheldon said, the question eSports poses that we cannot yet answer is: “Would this reside in the club activities level or something like the performing arts where you can have an exemption from a sport for a season?”

It is unknown whether eSports will appear in the form of a gaming club or a regular sport at Casady or whether esports will be considered as a sports or fitness fulfillment. However, Mr. Sheldon made sure to add, “It would take some practice time just like a sport.” E-athletes would most likely need formal practice to hone their skills. 

While eSports is new to OSSAA and to Casady, the Academic Bowl has a more established and familiar background. 

Mr. Sheldon remarked, “The Academic Bowl is similar to Science Olympiad in that every school is allowed to have a team. And there are different categories in the Academic Bowl, so when you go to a meet, there’s a strategy. You take the right people for the meet.”

He mentioned that from what he knows about Academic Bowl, “A team can only have four to six people on at a time, but what we don’t know is how many teams we can field.”

For those unfamiliar with Academic Bowl, here’s a quick rundown of the basics:

Academic Bowl or Quiz Bowl involves two teams competing against each other in a quiz-style tournament to get the most points. Some examples of the different question categories are Science, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Social Studies or History, Current Events, Pop Culture, and the Arts. The game is about speed and accuracy, where the person who is fastest to the buzzer and has the most varied trivia knowledge will earn their team the most points. Questions are tossed up to both teams. Bonus questions are for the team that gets the toss-up questions right. If both get the question wrong or time runs out, the moderator moves on to the next toss-up. 

While it may have similarities with the Science Olympiad, it is definitely unique. As Mr. Sheldon also said, “What you study for Academic Bowl is different from what you study for Science Olympiad.” Academic Bowl includes a diverse range of categories in each round, while Science Olympiad separates each category into individual tests. Additionally, while Science Olympiad allows cheat sheets or binders to assist teams on hour-long tests, Academic Bowl simply provides loose leaf paper and a pencil. 

It is unknown if Academic Bowl will take the form of a club like Science Olympiad and Youth and Government, but Mr. Sheldon seemed enthusiastic about ensuring the team would be well coached. He emphasized, “I am committed to getting our faculty to want to coach for the Academic Bowl. I already got a couple people who are interested.”

Finally, he concluded: “I hope the Academic Bowl fosters a love of learning.”

A “love of learning” is exactly what Casady encourages its students to pursue. Casady students are known to have their finger in every pie, so while both esports and Academic Bowl are new and uncharted territory, they present Casady students with just another arena where they can have fun and learn.