Crash or Credit?

Athletes go to practice for one and a half to two and a half hours every day after school when they are in season. Sports seasons can last up to over a quarter (about two months), and a good amount of athletes do more than just one sport. They dedicate a large portion of their school year to athletics, all while balancing out homework, sleep, and other out of school activities. Yet, these athletes still are required to take gym credits.

Physical education is defined as “a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting to promote health.” According to this, PE is used to promote physical activity. For kids who don’t engage in extracurricular athletics, this is very beneficial, but for kids who do play sports, this is an unnecessary duplicate x. With this time, a student athlete could be catching up on homework, studying, and going to teachers for help. This would then allow the student to get to bed at a reasonable hour, rather than staying up late to complete all of their homework. I believe that students who play sports, should not have to take gym.

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I believe this because sports take about one and a half to two and a half hours per day, while gym is only one period, and usually every other day, further proving that sports practice is about three times that of gym time. Another reason athletes should not have to take gym is that playing a sport is promoting physical health, which is what gym is supposed to do. So having a sport already covers the task that P.E. is trying to accomplish. If you add up all the practice hours and game times (Saturdays), and multiply that by how many days a week and how many weeks in a season, you get about 108 hours of physical activity.

Now if that is not accepted as “enough” physical activity, then I don’t know what is. Some people may argue that this is not fair to people who don’t play sports, because they still have to take PE, however, as previously stated, PE’s objective is to promote physical health and wellness, and for students who don’t play sports, this is very beneficial. In my personal experience, playing a sport and balancing it with school has been very difficult. All three years I have run Cross Country, and I left each season with a varsity letter. That took a lot of hard work. This year is especially difficult, because I am in the Alpha running group which takes a lot of training, and runs until six pm on most week days.

My Saturdays are all dedicated toXC meets, and on Sundays we are required to go on a long run, which usually is a half marathon. Fitting in homework with this schedule takes me to 10pm most weeknights and Sunday nights. This leaves me without free time, to pursue music and family time, andto keep a person happy and mentally stable. Without this, you’ll probably see me walking around school with a slight grimace, and I will probably get ticked off over small things. I’m sorry if this does happen, but teenagers need free time.

To put it into an up-close and personal perspective, I have gym fourth block on grey days, which includes a few low key games that barely even cause me to break a sweat, but following, I have two and a half hours of practice, that consists of vigorous training. This is an example of the direct imbalance of how my time is managed in-schedule. If I didn’t have that gym, I could be doing homework, getting me some more well-earned sleep in the night to follow. In my experience, gym classes are weak, and I could be using my time in ways that better suit me I realize that it is improbable thinking that administration will just let us athletes drop having to take gym, because they may argue that all students are equal on curricular levels, and gym counts as an actual class. To counter-act, I think that if curricular and extracurricular activities could benefit each other; the athlete would have time to catch up on schoolwork in the time that they would have to take gym, putting them in a better position from an academic standpoint. I believe a compromise would leave both parties satisfied.

I believe that a fair compromise would be having each (varsity?) sport in a season count as a half or at least a fourth of a credit. This would also give athletes an extra push to continue in their career in high school sports, not that they would need it, considering how dedicated an athlete needs to be to truly enjoy it and get the most out it. The school does offer a “gym class” called personal virtual fitness, which is worth a quarter of a credit, and is limited to half a credit total. To take the class, you have to be doing a sport, and the assignments are logging your practice hours, which I believe is reasonable, but there is also other assignments added on. An example of one of these assignments is “Write an essay showing that you understand Standard #2 of the NASPE standards: “The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.”” Assignments like this don’t make sense towards accomplishing what Gym is supposed to; promoting physical activity.

I know that the school wants its athletes to understand the background of their sport, and codes of conduct and such, but having them write an essay just to show that they understand one simple “standard” seems a little excessive. The fact that the amount of this course- one that’s designed off the idea that athletes can count their sports as gym credits- is limited in number so that the athlete can only get a half of a credit to account for their whole high school sports career, is unethical, and needs to change. To sum everything up, athletes are very busy people, with school, homework, and sports taking up their daily life. I believe that having them take gym on top of all that is unnecessary, and unbeneficial to the athletes, when they could be studying during that time, making up for the time that is taken by practice and games/meets. If athletes could get gym credits for sports that they do, I believe they will see less stress and be better students overall, not losing anything by dropping gym.