Athletes VS Physical Education

Most high school athletes today complain about how if they participate in a sport they shouldn’t be required to take gym to graduate. I am one of those athletes who fully believes this. During my sports seasons in the fall and spring, I don’t put in my hardest effort during physical education because I know that if I waste my energy running around playing kickball, soccer, etc., I won’t be able to give my best during my long, intense practices after school. Agreeing with my argument is an article from NBC news states that students who attend Hilliard Ohio High School, no longer need to worry about taking a required physical education class. But, in order to not take gym students must meet certain requirements during the year; during registration students must put a course code that represents a physical education waiver, they must participate and complete two sports to qualify and guidance consolers must check with the athletic staff to make sure the student truly did participate during the season.

Having this opportunity doesn’t only give the athletic students a chance to take another elective they might be interested in but it also helps out with the students that don’t take part in sports. Gym teacher Matt Gilkerson from a high school in Hilliard, stated that this opportunity,”…gives physical educators more time to spend with nonsports participants.” Most athletes are capable and knowledgeable about the correct ways to work out, get in shape, and train, since they go over it during every practice, but for those who don’t take part it a sport might not know the proper exercises.

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Having athletes not present during gym gives the teacher more one-on-one time with other students, and they also don’t have to worry about the students who complain and say, “we know how to do this already.” Student Sam Darling from Hillard Ohio High School states, “[Athletes] already get enough physical activity during their sports, it gives an opportunity to receive more credits.” I agree with her statement 100 percent. In the beginning of my junior year, my class schedule was insane. I only had three academic classes and my gym class, why? Because for the past two years I’ve finished my health class requirements, but I still need to finish my full year of gym. In order to do so I must take it junior and senior year, which means my schedule basically adjusts to what classes I could fit in around gym.

So before the start of the year, only three of the academic classes I chose were able to fit into my day. Now, I am an athlete, so it’s not as if I don’t exercise everyday, so which do you think was more important for me, gym or my academics? As a result, I had to drop one of my electives that I was really interested in taking. Another school that also had the same thoughts on this topic was Chatham High School, in New Jersey. In the article about this school, it states, “The Board of Education has adopted a new measure that allows students in a varsity sport to opt out of their physical education classes for the marking period in which they are playing. Instead, they would take a study hall.” The superintendent James O’Neill talked about how students who go out for sports usually have rough two hour practices five to six days a week, as opposed to students who don’t, and only have four days of 50 minute gym periods.

According to the Departments of Education, the New Jersey Association for Health and Physical Education/Recreation, within the New Jersey school system, about 18 percent of the high schools offer students the chance to opt out of their gym class. Not only does it not make sense to send athletes to gym when they have intense practices all season, but it also increases the athletes chances of being injured. A study proved that, “…researchers found nearly 12,000 injuries from hospitals during the 11 years…national estimate of nearly 37,000 annual injuries on average, with fewer than 30,000 in 1997 and climbing to more than 60,000 injuries a year by 2007.” How many of those students are athletes? A majority of them. There is no reason for a student who participates in a sport, to risk getting injured while playing a game of kickball, baseball, or any other gym activities.

Every fall, winter and summer for the past seven years I have participated in field hockey. From lessons and travel teams to my JV and varsity high school team. During these seasons I keep my main focus on learning new skills to succeed in the future. Now next year is my senior year, and I would love to have colleges come observe me because I have an interest in continuing field hockey in college. I don’t want to put my future at risk by taking part in gym, especially in high school where gym activities could get pretty rough. Just by spraining or straining a muscle, I could mess up the chances of trying my hardest to show off to the college coaches.

In conclusion I strongly believe that high school athletes shouldn’t have to be required to earn physical education credits to graduate. Most of us athletes will agree that it is just a waste of time because we could be being more productive in a class we actually want to participate in. In addition it can also increase are risks of getting injured during our seasons. So in the battle of Athletes Vs. Gym; I believe athletes win.