Running Out of Options

Running Out of Options

Riana Watkins-Martin, staff writer

As children, we all looked forward to that one day out of the week where we would be marched down to the gymnasium by our teacher and asked to change into our light up tennis shoes so as not to scuff the floor; we all looked forward to listening intently to directions on the Quiet Mat before sprinting off to grab a rubber ball at the blow of a whistle. Gym class was evidently beneficial at the time because it taught us patience, cooperation, and teamwork. However, as mature high school students, is it crucial that we acknowledge play time is over.

The true purpose of high school is to prepare the youth for adulthood; in the real world, it will not matter how well you can dribble a ball or how many pushups you can do under a minute. It is not the school’s place to exert their authority and demand that gym class be mandatory for all high school students; it is ultimately up to the student to decide what lifestyle choices they make. It is the responsibility of a school to aid their students in making healthier decisions by warning them of the consequences that arise from both obesity and not exercising daily. Schools do this through required health courses. It is time for schools to stop coddling their students  and making all the decisions for them; they should instead focus a majority of their attention on helping their students  make the right decisions without assistance. When a school’s students graduate and are thrown head-first into a world full of overwhelming responsibility, the school is no longer going to be around to hold everyone’s hands and ensure they run for thirty minutes each day.

In today’s aggressive society, a particular emphasis has been placed on competition. The value of gym class as a whole has dropped dramatically as the recent focus has shifted from exercise and harmless fun to both competition and coming out on top. Many students can’t throw as well or run as fast as a majority of their peers, whether that be because they are just not that good at sports or due to health-related issues. Requiring all students to participate in gym class would be similar to forcing students who can’t draw to take art class and display their work in front of everybody. In a course where students are often expected to be picked by team captains or compete against one another, many individuals may feel humiliated and embarrassed. Besides many being athletically challenged, a large majority of individuals just can’t run. 24.6 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with asthma. It should not be required that these individuals risk their health simply to prove they can do a certain number of jumping jacks or throw a ball through a hoop.

There are only so many hours in a day. Many students schedules are brimming with so many mandatory classes that there is not enough time to take the other required ones; due to this, a majority of individuals are forced to take several courses over the summer or during zero hour simply to meet the minimum requirement. To classify gym class as mandatory would be both unnecessary and excessive. Gym class benefits young children because it teaches basic social and motor skills; however, as young adults, it is important that we grow up.

It is obvious that high school gym classes hold no immense value and are inessential; many high school students participate in sports already so requiring gym class would be simply superfluous. It would do nothing more than make unathletic students and individuals with asthma feel bad about themselves. Gym should be treated as an elective, such as art class is, and available for those who wish to take it instead of being mandatory.