Should Student Athletes Have to Take Gym?

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Addie Orndorff, Staff Writer

Many student athletes here at State High ask this question: “Why do I have to take gym when I already play a sport?” Several opinions relate back to PE class, and if it is really necessary.  While the Pennsylvania Athletic Department states that providing high schools with PE and health courses is a requirement, more and more wish it was an optional class.

“I don’t think gym is useful, and I’d rather get homework and stuff done in a study hall. Also, sometimes I’m afraid I’m going to get injured in gym and won’t be able to practice,” said Elizabeth Czekaj, sophomore basketball player. Czekaj plays year-round basketball, along with lifting and open gym practices through the summer and fall. She is currently taking in class gym.

“Gym should not be required for those doing school sports, because those of us who do school sports get enough exercise. Having sports be in place of gym can also be used as incentive for more students to participate in school sports.” said senior Emily Stahl. An active member of State High’s team, Stahl swims year round, constantly in the water.

Hours of exercise were calculated for the following sports during their seasons: Softball players last year committed to 142 total hours of exercise. Football players will participate in approximately 249 hours of combined practices and games during their season this year (Sep.-Dec.). Girls basketball will have 163 hours their winter season. At State High, a student taking PE class for one year will do approximately 62 hours a year. The point being made is most student athletes at our school already receive twice to triple the amount of physical activity needed for PE.

“Our practices are 2 hours long, so like 10 to 12 hours a week….I took online gym this summer because it gives me space for another class in the school year.” said sophomore soccer player, Jacob Krantweiss. Krantweiss plays for the State High boys soccer team.

Based on responses from teens of multiple ages here at State High, the students took gym online in the summer because they wanted to have an extra period in the school year. This option is not highly favored by students, because not only do they have to take a class all summer, it costs them over 175 dollars! This explains a lot; the students want a free period and no gym class in the school year so bad that they’re willing to pay money and take time out of their summer to work. Therefore, for some students, they believe PE class should not be a requirement. Why participate in a 45 minute physical activity class when student athletes have a 2-3 hour practice for a sport right after school that day?

While many kids at State High view gym class this way, some PE teachers have a different opinion: “Physical education helps students develop new skills, improve fitness, and increase knowledge and positive attitudes thus enabling them to live a longer, satisfying, healthier life.” states 9th grade Health and PE teacher, Mrs. Eggebeen.

As the statement is true, don’t school sports provide these same qualities for high schoolers? For example, players on the volleyball team this year will increase their knowledge of the game along with skills, improve their fitness, and also develop positive attitudes through cooperation with their teammates.

In conclusion, a student participating in a school sport is already getting a great amount of physical activity.

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