Let Varsity Athletes Skip Gym, Emmaus High Student Says
Emmaus High School sophomore Anna Thoet says that both varsity athletes and non-athletes would be benefitted and athletes were allowed to forego their physical education requirement.
Special to Emmaus Patch by Anna Thoet
Physical education class’s rigor level has steadily increased over the years to conquer childhood obesity. The amount of injuries in gym class has also steadily increased from 1997 to 2007 by 150 percent according to health.usnews.com. Injuries sustained from physical education class are detrimental to varsity athletes. If varsity athletes no longer participate in gym class, it will not only benefit them but the non-varsity athletes as well.
Varsity athletes keep busy with practices and schoolwork among the stresses of everyday life. Physical education class adds to the stress varsity athletes have to endure. Instead of the unnecessary gym classes, these students could have a much-needed study hall instead. With practices and competitions taking up much of their after-school time, it is difficult for varsity athletes to keep up their GPA (grade point average). A certain GPA must be maintained in order for a student to participate in a school sport. With an extra study hall in their day instead of physical education class, varsity athletes will be able to get a head start on their work.
Many schools throughout the nation have made physical education class optional for varsity athletes. One school in particular is Chatam High School in New Jersey. At this high school, sophomore, junior, and senior athletes can go without gym if they chose to. Montclair High School in New Jersey also offers optional physical education classes for varsity athletes while in-season. The optional gym class for student athletes has proven beneficial.
Approximately 55.5 percent, 7.6 million, students play a sport as of 2011 according to usnews.com/education. The large number of student athletes is not the target audience for gym class. These varsity athletes are already in shape due to their rigorous practices. Therefore gym class proves to be worthless for these students. For those who are not varsity athletes, gym class can be beneficial to them. The students who do not participate in a sport will have a more rewarding experience in gym class if varsity athletes do not participate. Teachers will be able to offer more encouragement and one-on-one time with these students.
Work out Wednesdays at Emmaus High School leave one exhausted due to the many physically demanding stations. Having a big race or game, tends to make an athlete slack off in gym class, especially during a Work Out Wednesday, in order to conserve energy. This in turn affects one’s grade. The alternative, which is giving one’s all during gym class, leaves one worn out for his competition later that day. Whatever way a varsity athlete approaches gym class, it is a lose-lose situation for him.
More high schools throughout the nation should abolish the prerequisite for varsity athletes to participate in gym class. By not requiring them to participate, it will benefit both the athletes and non-athletes. Athletes would be able to avoid possible injuries and have more time to concentrate on academic work, while non-athletes would receive extra attention and help.
Anna Thoet is a 15-year-old sophomore at Emmaus High School. She is currently a student in Ms. Bonnie Raub's 10th grade English honors class. Thoet wrote this essay as part of a class assignment.