An Exercise in Physical Futility
by Gabe Schlesinger, Administrative Assistant
While gym may be a great class to improve skill and strength and to show off
moves, some people are not athletic and do not get anything out of gym. For
example, gym classes require students to run the mile. This not only is demeaning
to the kids who are not physically fit, but it is also glorifies and rewards
those who are. Says Jackie Marlow, sophomore, "Some people can't meet all
the expectations laid down by the teachers." It is not always a good idea
for a person who is not athletic to be expected to run a nine minute mile. Furthermore,
not all the activities are useful, and the stretches that we are told to do
do not stretch everything we need. For example, very little or no emphasis is
usually placed on stretching the ankle or neck. Finally, those who do not make
any effort to get in shape, will not benefit from a mandatory gym class due
to lack of interest. Mr. Jim Valtman , phys. ed. teacher, feels the purpose
of gym is to give an experience of physical activities you might need later
in life. It also helps you perform better in your next class due to the greater
amount of oxygen going to your brain.
My advice is to make the mile optional. The alternative could be a written assignment of the teacher's choice. As for the stretches, let everyone stretch his/her own way for a set amount of time. Also, do not start at a high pace, like a mile in nine minutes. Do the mile twice or more. Start off at fifteen minutes at the end of the first half of the first gym quarter, fourteen at the end of the second half of the first quarter, eleven at the end of the first half of the second quarter, and, finally, nine for the last mile. Only take the grade of the last mile. Perhaps use the first three as confidence builders or a feeling of memory like, "I did this before I can do it again but better." Finally, should kids with asthma or other similar diseases be held to the same standards of those in full health? I think not. Asthma makes one "hit the wall" faster than usual. Maybe extend the required time by one minute for those with asthma or other disorders that affect breathing !!
Gym is good in theory, but the requirements are too lofty. Some may benefit from a required gym class, but for those who do not care, it does not do any good.