‘Wait, what sport do you play?’

Students share unique athletic endeavors


Dylan Higgins, Media Editor

Competitive dance, pole vaulting, rock climbing, chess boxing—these are just a few of the more unusual sports students and alumni have taken on outside of school.

Kira Tian ’22 has been doing dance since she was four years old. Her styles include contemporary, lyrical, folkloric, and jazz. She said her parents originally exposed her to the sport but she stuck with it after developing a passion.

“I think you can be more creative during dance,” she said. “It’s more artistic than [other] sports. You can put your own ideas or your own thoughts into your piece.”

Kira typically dances with groups ranging from two to 15 people and competes on a national level. She practices multiple hours per week and plans to continue dance in the future.

Peter Lichtenberger ’23 has been climbing for five years and picked up pole vaulting last year; he does the latter in and outside of school. Though the two sports are very different objectively, Peter sees strong similarities, he said.

“They’re both super supportive and not incredibly competitive in an ‘I’ll beat you at any cost’ sense.”

Peter said that rock climbing is a perfect hybrid of competition and relaxation.

“I just go, and I get to climb,” he said. “If I want to compete, then it’s awesome, [I] go compete, and that’s super fun. If I just wanted to be there to get stronger and hang out with some friends and have some fun, coaches would love that, too.”

On February 20, Peter competed in the New England winter pole vaulting finals, where he achieved a personal best height of 15 feet and won the tournament. Peter said he plans to continue both sports in the future.

Theodor Lukin-Yelin ’18 is on his fourth year of club water polo at Harvard University, where he practices twice a week during the winter season. He began the sport his freshman year.

“It’s one of the most physically demanding things I’ve ever done in my life, but the payoff is immeasurable,” he said. “The bonds I’ve made with my teammates are unbreakable.”

Harry Druker ’19 discovered the fantastical sport of quidditch at a camp for magic and now plays it at Tulane University. Originally inspired by the game in “Harry Potter” in which students ride broomsticks and pass a ball, real-life quidditch involves two teams running around with fake broomsticks and chasing a ball.

“I once played an entire quidditch match in the pouring rain, and I was shocked and inspired by my team’s perseverance,” he said. “The refs showed up, the teams were there, and the final score was 15-2 us.”

Harry said he greatly enjoys the community he has found. “On a serious level, the community would seem a little off-beat, but there is a really rich community within,” he said. “One person can’t play quidditch. You need the entire team.”

Charlie Goebel ’22 has spent his past eight summers at Camp Lawrence in New Hampshire, where he discovered the sport of chess boxing. The sport is played in two-minute intervals: two minutes of chess followed by two minutes of all-out boxing against your opponent, followed by another two minutes of chess, and so forth. The game is won either by checkmate or knockout.

“The biggest challenge in the sport is lowering your heart rate when you return to the table,” Charlie said. “You have to focus when you sit back down, and I constantly have to be thinking about my next chess moves while throwing punches.”

Charlie is now a counselor at his camp and looks forward to going back next year to be a coach of the chess boxing team, he said. As a serious wrestler and rower, Charlie said, playing his unusual sport is a different but valuable experience.

“I think doing a more uncommon sport brings a more fun and unique challenge that common sports lack.”