Why physical education as a required class is grossly over rated.
By Sydney Armstrong
P.E., as we all know, is a required credit to graduate, but why? I have taken Strength & Conditioning four times now, twice so I can fulfill my physical education credit requirement and another two times so I can get my elective credits completed. Now for those of you who took Healthy Decisions instead of a class where you have to do physical labor, I’m going to tell you now that you aren’t missing out on much. All of the boys treat is as a competition, who can lift more, who can run faster, who is the most athletic, who is the best at sports, it’s stupid. All of the meathead freshmen who are trying to prove something to each other and the upperclassmen . . . and then there are the upperclassmen who want to prove that they are better than everyone. In these situations, they are all boys. The boys always have something to prove. The girls, on the other hand, want the credit, want to flirt, or want an opportunity to “show off.” It shouldn’t be about competition, but that’s what all it’s about.
Why do you even need physical education? It doesn’t help you with a career, it doesn’t help you with your other classes; at least homeroom can be used as a study hall, and it puts people in uncomfortable positions. Always having to prove yourself or trying to keep up with others’ physical ability is not a confidence boosting opportunity. As students we are supposed to feel safe at school, but a class where your lesser physical capability is predominantly shown, really gives others the perfect segway to bullying. Sophomore Sarah Curtis agrees that the social situations that students are put in are unfair. I have been in Strength & Conditioning four times now, and there are lifting groups, boys and girls, that stand and watch the “weak links” lift. I have heard them laugh and say some pretty degrading things amongst themselves and frankly it’s rude. I’m not saying that some of the comments they make aren’t true, but they are things that you shouldn’t say out loud.
The teachers are a whole other story. I am pretty fond of most of the P.E. teachers here at Legend, but they all have said something once or twice that could be considered out of line. I have seen students get pretty upset over something a teacher has said about their physical ability, or when they insult the intelligence of a student. In the teachers’ defense, the students weren’t listening to directions, but that doesn’t give them a right to degrade them.
I bet you all know about the alternative to a P.E. class, Healthy Decisions. Students opt for this class to avoid the potential embarrassment of an actual P.E. class. I mean, at least it’s good that the school offers an alternative class to get the credit in, but I don’t feel like they should have to do that. Junior Lucas Bahrens said, “The kids that don’t want to take P.E. are going to take Healthy Decisions anyway, so I don’t see why we are required to take it.” I, again, raise the question, Why do we need physical education to graduate? Some people argue that physical education should be required because of the rising obesity rate in the US. Or that it helps students in other areas of learning, such as math and science. Personally, I don’t believe that physical education is necessary for the function of life or the learning process.
I understand that promoting physical education in adolescence is important, but most things regarding physical wellness is common sense. McDonald’s is bad for you, eating better will help improve your physical appearance, physical activity is advised to keep good overall health. Everyone knows what the Play 60 movement is, and it doesn’t apply to just children. Adults need 60 minutes of physical activity a day as well, and you don’t need a gym membership to make that happen, or what you learn in P.E. either. I understand that promoting physical education in adolescence is important, but really, physical education is a novelty that the school system entertains. It’s not necessary for the whole population to partake in and shouldn’t be a requirement. It should just be another elective.