Opinion: Gym Class, Required or Elective?

This piece explores whether or not student athletes should be forced to take gym class, or whether they would better off scheduling other courses

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Opinion: Gym Class, Required or Elective?

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It’s 5:00 a.m. You hop out of bed and turn on your shower. By 5:30, you’re drying your hair and styling it. You pick out your outfit for the day, and for some people, do your makeup routine. Before you know it, your bus is at its stop and you are running to catch it. By second period, all of the work you put into your look is ruined by sweat after being given little time to change and clean yourself up. These problems are caused by none other than the dreaded gym class.

Gym class in elementary and middle school used to consist of dodgeball, basketball, volleyball, and almost any other sport you can think of. In elementary school and middle school gym class was full of fun activities and got kids moving. Today’s gym class consists of running, biking, weight lifting, and many more challenging units. In other words, gym class used to be fun and something that students would look forward to, but this is no longer the case.

In my opinion, gym class should be an elective. People should be allowed to choose to take gym class if working out is something they enjoy doing or opt out if it is something they would rather pass on. Some people enjoy exercising during their day, while others would rather save themselves the trouble and miss out on the sweat.

In the Pine Richland school district, gym class is an option if students play a school sport, student-athletes don’t get tired out for their specific sport. This is a good rule to have in place because it gives athletes time to recover from their sports practices, rather than tiring them out again during school hours. It is not fair to force kids who play sports to spend more time exercising and less time doing school work. North Allegheny is a very competitive school, and that is a well-known fact. Our athletes that start and work hard in their sports usually spend hours after school dedicated to working out and getting better. They should have that extra credit for an elective,  take a study hall, and get some of their school work done before they have to go work hard at practice.

Some may say that gym class is helping fight obesity in students, but this is not the case. If people do not like gym class, it’s more than likely that they will not try on the in-class workouts, which will give them a bad grade in the course. Is forcing exercise onto students really worth a drop in their GPA? If gym class was just an elective, that could encourage students to take a different elective and pursue their personal interests. School is meant to prepare you for the future, but gym class does not help with that whatsoever.

For some, gym class is a way to escape schoolwork and relieve stress. I recognize that as the case for some students. This also contributes to the idea that if gym class was an elective, the people who wished to do it could have the choice to make for themselves.

Why should we be forced to participate in things that do not interest us and will not advance us academically and career-wise? Why are we forcing our athletes to risk injury and spend even less time on school work than they do already?