All varsity athletes, not just upperclassmen, should be exempt from taking P.E.
Madison Seeman co-wrote this column.
Imagine having to wake up at 5 a.m. for a grueling morning practice, working your heart out for two more hours, then having to go through yet another thirty minutes of working out in P.E. After being exhausted from all of that, there are another two hours of your varsity sport after school. This is the shared experience of many varsity student athletes.
Currently, only juniors and seniors can be exempt from gym if they are in a varsity sport. Because freshmen and sophomores in varsity sports work just hard as seniors in varsity sports, exemption should be an option for them as well.
Students in varsity sports already work out so much to stay in shape, through morning and afternoon practices, and they are, as a result, exhausted after each morning practice, what with all of the squats, burpees, and push-ups they have to do. After that, they have to go to P.E. and start running at least five laps, and a full workout. Right after, when they’re all sore, they have to keep working out. Other students may go through these grueling workouts in P.E. before going to their varsity sport less than an hour later, skipping the important routine of rest and recovery in working out. It’s overworking them, and they’re tired enough.
The purpose of P.E. is to keep students healthy and in shape, and being in a varsity sport takes care of that. If a student in a varsity sport is trying to rest for a big game or meet, P.E. gets in the way of that. The student would probably be tired from the workout in P.E., especially if he or she is in an 8th period class, and wouldn’t be able to give 100% to what he or she actually has a passion for.
At Conant, everyone has been told to join an extracurricular at one point or another. But with an extracurricular as demanding as a varsity sport, the amount of time it takes up can be discouraging. Varsity students who are not seniors may struggle to pursue their passions and balance them with their education.
As it is, varsity athletes have barely any time after school to devote to their studies. By replacing their P.E. period with a study hall, their grades may greatly improve and they would be likely to finish all of their homework on time.
By having a study hall or an extra class, the athlete could save their grades. These athletes don’t need to relearn the activities they do on a day-to-day basis, and they’re already in peak physical condition. With this extra opportunity to study, these students can successfully balance their involvement in school with their academics.
Some may argue that letting varsity athletes skip P.E. would be unnecessary since they should be used to working out, and doing it in P.E. won’t make a difference. But not every athlete has as much endurance as others, and working them out before a big game or meet would just take their energy away. Some days, when games or meets aren’t close, it’s fine to workout in P.E., but varsity athletes have high competition events more often, so resting would be a better option. These events last a long time, so having P.E. as a study hall could be a great time to catch up on their work.
Administrators should give a study hall for the season to varsity athletes of all grade levels. Being in a varsity sport clearly means that the sport means a lot to them, so they already have a healthy diet and do not need any more supervision on how to stay fit. If this can’t be implemented, at least communicating with the P.E. teacher ahead of time to request that they take it easy for a few days so they can rest up for a big game or meet could make a world of difference in these athletes’ lives.