Post by Annie D.
Featured image by Stefan_Schranz
Hard work, sweat, and pain. All of those things are put into sports, at any level. As a student athlete in high school myself I know a social life is important to most teenagers, but the students like me, who are athletes as well as students, are willing to give even that up to become the best player they can be.
In schools all over the world students are required to take some sort of physical education class. But what about those kids who are already working twice as hard as they do in gym class in their sport? Being in a sport is like having a job. High school sports practices are every single night for at least two hours.
High school sports help the athletes to participate in not only just becoming physically fit, but on building their mental skills as well. Athletes are often given life lessons by their coaches, participate in team bonding activities, manage their time, and are being taught how to overcome adversity.
In the editorial “School Sports Should Count As Gym Credits” it is stated that “The participation in a high school physical education class drops from the elementary and middle school level. Also the exposure to and interest in taking a gym class drops once a student reaches high school.” High-schoolers just do not have the same drive to take part in gym class as they used to. The activities no longer seem fun or exciting anymore.
The athletes who are interested in taking a gym class often get frustrated and upset with those students who are only there because they are being forced to take the class. The non athletes despise going to class as well as they often feel embarrassed and inadequate. There is added stress due to the fear of letting their classmates down by not being able to perform a task or certain skill.
The article School Sports Should Count As Gym Credits also says “If parents or administrators are worried about the level or amount of physical activity a student is receiving, then a gym class is not the answer. A study over the nutrition and physical activity of Kansas public schools by the Kansas Health Institute showed that high school students are active for less than three quarters of a physical education class period.” The average high school physical education class is 55 minutes long and meets five times a week. On average they meet 275 minutes a week. A high school sports practice is on average two and a half hours long. Teams meet for practice about four times a week for a total of 600 practice minutes a week. These numbers prove that a sports team spends twice as much time practicing as the average gym class meets in total. In addition, this does not include game nights, travel time to and from games and separate team building activities, such as attending youth games, JUMP, and pasta dinners.
As a high school student I understand why it was necessary for me to participate in elementary and middle school. It helped me to discover what sports and activities I was interested in. Elementary, along with middle school is a time of discovery for most kids but as we get older we want to hone in on our passions and present our skills and talents in the best way possible. Participating in a sport allows athletes to do so, some may even earn a scholarship, proving that practice, dedication, and hard work pay off.
Ways to resolve the issue:
First, student athletes should be given a physical education/ elective credit for each sport they are involved in. Also, student athletes should have the opportunity to take a study hall in place of a gym class. This would help eliminate the stress of trying to manage time and homework load. Instead of cramming practice/games and homework into a small amount of time they could finish some while they are at school. This would make it easier and faster for student athletes to complete their general credits necessary to graduate high school and open up opportunities for post secondary enrollment options. More student athletes may be willing to take classes with more rigor such as AP level courses if they knew they had time allotted for homework in study hall without the fear of not reaching the required number of credits needed to graduate. In the long run many athletes would save money by earning college credits while still in high school.