Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kids and Sports

The importance of PE class in the schools have long been debated and continue to fight an uphill battle during these times of budget tightening. I would like to make a case "for" sports in school regardless of the costs. The two vital reasons are: self-confidence and physical fitness.
Self-confidence can be gained through feeling successful to some degree. It's all about personal goals and achieving your personal best. How many books have been written about the defeated teen who is humiliated over an incident in gym class by the more athletically superior "jocks". Being picked last, sitting on the bench, kicking the ball in the wrong goal are all aspects that some of us can relate to but are really unnecessary. Providing a variety of options is the key. How many adults like being told what exercise class they "have to" take at the local gym? It is simple people, kids are humans and like to have choices.
And options are out there. In a recent Sports Illustrated for Kids I came across an article about two schools in New York who are offering PE classes for kids, girls and boys alike, that is about learning how to ride a skateboard. There are those archaic held beliefs that skateboarding is for punks but I would challenge that assertion. Just look at any football or baseball player in the news lately. They could probably be classified as worse than punks...

Tony Hawk is now a 40 something father along with all the other skaters of days gone by who still skate! Wow, you could almost put skateboarding up there with golf as a sport that you can enjoy your entire life. Recently I took my sons, their cousins, and a friend to the local skate park. It was great. There were young guys there as well as the "old dudes" and they were all having fun. The boys spent about 3 hours there over the course of two days.
The beauty of some of these "fringe" sports such as BMX'ing, skateboarding,or golfing, is that they are individual sports to a certain extent but that still require that you "play" with others. It's about your personal best. Not about standing out in left field for 98% of the game not making a single play or on the bench for the entire basketball game. Let's empower our children to participate in activities that they enjoy and that they can continue to participate in throughout their lives.
The second basis for supporting PE classes in school is obviously to access the physical fitness component. Everyone needs more physical activity in this age of conveniences. Kids are no longer  allowed or encouraged to ride the 2 miles to go to the local store and buy their candy bar. They sit in the back seat and consume it. I remember riding to Evergreen Market which was only about 1 mile one way but it would get so windy at times that you literally had to walk your bike. It was a great workout. But in this day and age you can go to jail for child neglect if you put your child in danger by telling them that they could ride to the store - heaven forbid!

So, it is essential for us to provide opportunities for our children to explore different activities that will allow them to be as healthy as possible. If our kids can't be physically healthy they will have a more difficult time being healthy mentally and emotionally. This should be the last thing schools should consider cutting from the budget when everything else depends on it.

1 comment:

Debate blog - Julio said...

The fact that sport is important for people living todoas and you should always make a place. CHOOSE is difficult sometimes when you have no aptitude for physical performance. The important thing there is in the variety, as you say here.
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Nathan's Native American Button Blanket
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