Kick Butts Volleyball tournament promotes tobacco-free lifestyle

The annual tournament provides students the chance to play and support a good cause

Lexi Flipse, Mill Valley News social media editor

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The annual Kick Butts volleyball tournament took place in the auxiliary gym on Wednesday, March 22. Students paid $1 to participate on a team and raised around $100, with all funds going to support Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

The event is hosted every year following Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism. On this day, teachers and role models across the nation educate students on harmful tobacco use and advocate for tobacco-free lifestyles.

Health teacher Amy McClure has taken on this role and helped start the tournament in order to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use.

“We started [participating in] Kick Butts Day 12 years ago in an attempt to promote tobacco prevention with the campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and their Kick Butts Day event,” McClure said.

Before the event, students form teams and sign up at lunch. At the event, the teams play several matches against their peers. This year, the team “Los Campeones,” Spanish for champions, pulled out the win.

While all students can participate now, the event was originally for boys only because the girls have the opportunity to participate in annual powder puff games. However, this quickly changed after the first year’s tournament found success.

“We did the first year with just the boys and it was so popular that the girls wanted to play,” McClure said, “so now it’s a co-ed event.”     

Since then, the tournament has become popular among students as a fun way to hang out with peers and promote healthy, tobacco free lifestyles. Junior Lilly Blecha has participated in the event multiple times and enjoys getting to play as much as she enjoys supporting the cause.

“I used to play volleyball and I have a lot of fun with my friends in it every year,” Blecha said. “I think it’s really valuable because cigarettes are a really harmful thing and I’m very against them.”                       

McClure encourages this negative attitude toward tobacco products, and with new items such as e-cigarettes hitting the shelves, she feels that it is even more important for students to remain smoke-free.

“With e-cigarettes and vaping, the dangers are there but we’re not really even sure what they are. Those things are not FDA regulated, so if the FDA is saying they’re not really sure what their stance is on it, it means that it’s not a safe alternative,” McClure said.

According to McClure, the overall goal is for students to have a fun time while also being conscious of the ways they spend their time outside of school.

“I hope [students] take away the fact that there are lots of things they can do with their lives and their time that is a tobacco free lifestyle,” McClure said. “Playing a sport like volleyball is one thing, just hanging out with their friends, just to promote that healthy lifestyle.”

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