Physical Failures

Jarrod - Hudson, Massachusetts
Entered on June 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

For those who think gym is all about running laps around your school track, or playing dodge ball you would now be sorely mistaken. Gym is now about feeling good about yourself and improving skills at sports you probably won’t play ever again, instead of improving physical health and fitness.

In our gym class, we walk a mile every other day, which is how often we have the class. Then we go and play the sport that was assigned for the next two weeks, unless it is the first day of a new sport then half of the time in class is spent doing drills to improve the skills of everyone in the class. These drills do not require a lot of skill so no one gets down on themselves for not doing well however this also limits the amount each person can improve. After the forty-five minutes of drills however you no longer have to participate in the class or even stand in the middle of the gym or the field and pretend you are trying. You can sit on the sidelines and relax for the rest of the class, which is another forty-five minutes. In addition, just as we get into the sport and people start to try as a class it’s over and every one goes back to not caring about the new sport.

Some of the sports we have played have also involved just standing around and waiting for the ball to come near you, since our class is to full to play one game but not big enough to play two (soccer and volleyball are good examples). There are several times where the teacher didn’t even know the rules to the sport. In soccer, our teacher had us doing face-offs like in hockey every time the ball went out of bounds or someone scored a goal. In case you don’t know when the ball goes out of bounds, the other team throws the ball in like in basketball and after a goal is scored, the team that was scored on receives the ball. Along with that, we have played badminton in which you can stand and wait for the birdie to come near you no matter how many people are playing on your team. If you don’t have to move to play the sport then there isn’t any physical activity, which the last time I checked was the point of gym class.

At the end of every two weeks, the entire class has to take a test on the rules of the sport and how to “properly play” which is what part of the foot you kick the ball with and questions similar to that for each sport. The test takes twenty to twenty-five minutes of our time for an unnecessary process. On top of that, at the end of each term, we either take a mid-term or final, depending on which term it is. This is an entire week spent sitting in one of the school’s computer labs answering simple questions about nutrition and playing poorly made flash games on the internet. Even if you finish in one day you have to stay in the computer lab and do nothing for the rest of the time you could have to finish the packet of work.

At the cost of the students’ health, the gym classes at my school no longer focus on health and fitness but instead on skills and personal motivation. This could lead to more health problems for them in the future and for that reason we need to change our system. This is what I believe.