Athletes Deserve PE credit


April Mamaclay

Physical Education students generally run for up to two hours a week for class. I am proposing that student athletes who meet the physical activity and personal fitness requirements earn a PE credit. Football player Ryan Reagan (10) said that “you have much harder exercise in a period of three hours, whereas PE is only one.”

Alexa Conrad, Editor

An idea has been floating in my head that warrants a serious look. As a school athlete on the cross country team, I put in hours of exercise. As a result of the physical activities required of me in practices and competition, I feel that athletes, such as myself, should be given a credit in Physical Education.

It has nothing to do with the teachers, or the course; rather, it’s acknowledging that athletes, in general, meet the physical activity and personal fitness requirements necessary to fulfill the credit in a PE course.

It should act as no surprise that more than a handful of students will do anything to get out of taking this course requirement needed for graduation. While their reasons run the gamut, the school should take into consideration that our athletes are simply not wimping out of this class.

“I just don’t want to take it because I still have practice after,” football player Sipa Leafa (11) said. “We run a lot. We run more than in PE, so we’re already tired.”

Earning a PE credit for participating in a sport can benefit student athletes. Some sports are more strenuous, thus, making athletes work more than they would if they simply took a PE course. In football, practices are held Monday through Friday for up to three hours daily, with some practices held Saturday mornings after a Friday night game.

In football, “you have much harder exercise in a period of three hours, whereas PE is only one,” Ryan Reagan (10), another football player, said.

Student athletes who are taking a PE class usually have practices afterschool. This physical activity drains them, and may take away from their performance during practices.

Students who participate in a sport generally experience the pressures of competition, and work accordingly in practices to raise themselves to that competitive level, in order to meet the team’s athletic goals. Taking a PE class just doesn’t seem to offer that edge.

Also, students can focus on a sport they are interested in, rather than be forced to participate in multiple sports that do not engage or motivate them.

Athletics also offer the benefit of fueling one’s ambition and goals. While PE focuses on physical self improvement, many sports kick the level up a notch by adding competition from other schools in order to further motivate students to be better. Student athletes also can focus on improving nuances in their athletic strategies when they choose a specific sport.

While this idea offers a lot of benefits, I realize that there are those sports that may not offer a comparable exercise regimen.

“Not everybody can make the team,” assistant Athletic Director and basketball Coach David Lane said. “It wouldn’t be fair to offer that credit to someone who can play versus someone who can’t.”

And how are we to know which sports are actually an equal substitution for PE?

“[For example] air riflery isn’t a good alternative,” social studies teacher Corey Allen said. “PE really is a valuable experience anyway.”

To be fair, I can’t ignore that PE offers exposure to a variety of sports students ordinarily wouldn’t participate in. By making PE a requirement, students may expand their interests in a spectrum of physical activities.

So will this alternative be a viable choice for students in the future? It’s hard to tell. But, I for one, hope this concept will gain enough attention to even consider.