A tradition in Blind Brook for seniors has been exemption from gym class during the season in which that individual plays a varsity sport. Students, faculty, and particularly athletes know how massive of a commitment varsity level sports can be; practice up to six times a week for upwards of two to three hours, along with extremely competitive games. Why has this exemption only been permitted to seniors? Shouldn’t all varsity athletes, regardless of grade, be exempt?
Let’s get one thing clear; physical education classes are a great outlet to encourage healthy exercise habits. For students who aren’t involved in sports, this is a class that provides them with a way to stay active. However, student athletes are already active by participating on their sports team, and therefore don’t necessarily need another time of the day dedicated to exercising.
Most varsity athletes can agree it is a commitment similar to any other extracurricular or clubs at school, but can be more physically exhausting at the end of the day. Balancing homework and studying can be trickier with extremely limited time and energy. In order to better a varsity athlete’s academic career, gym being turned into free periods or study halls would provide extra time to be productive. This could aid student athletes in staying on top of their work.
Seniors undisputedly have a lot of their plate: focusing on college decisions, current schoolwork, and juggling other extracurriculars. At each academic level comes new challenges, and sports can be tough to manage in a busy schedule. This system of being exempt from the P.E. requirement should be available to all student athletes on a varsity level, as younger teammates are making the same commitment to the team that any other member is.
Naturally, a senior in high school will have a larger amount of potentially more challenging school work compared to a freshman, but adapting to more and more work is a gradual process. It can feel overwhelming going into each year and accepting more responsibilities. As seniors have unique challenges to face, younger students have the challenge that each new year inevitably brings in terms of a more rigorous course load. While very often the majority of varsity sports athletes are seniors, the other grades resonate with the P.E. exemption as well and often face the same struggles in commitment.
Additionally, junior year is arguably one of the most difficult grades in highschool. This is because that year determines one’s class rank when they apply to college, one’s ACT and SAT scores are determined, and colleges are looking at your grades prior to admission. It would be immensely helpful for a student in their junior year to receive the opportunity for exemption as well.
However, high school is not a competition of who and which year has it hardest; I’m sure we can all agree it is difficult in a unique variety of circumstances and at every stage of advancement. That’s why an opportunity for academic success would benefit anyone struggling with time management due to sports. At all grade levels, a study hall instead of a gym period would be beneficial.
One could also argue that students on all grade levels would be more willing to play sports if they entailed this exemption. This would strengthen school spirit and sports teams while making the participants healthier. Younger students might feel more inclined to go out for a varsity team, which would increase favorable competition in athletics. Sometimes an incentive is all it takes to motivate students, and a P.E. exemption would act in this manner.
For all those not involved in sports, P.E. is crucial in providing an opportunity to be active and exercise. But, at any age varsity athletes should be exempt from P.E. for that season, as they are getting adequate exercise on a daily basis.
To conclude, this practice would be largely beneficial to those trying to take on multiple commitments, including a varsity sport. In order to further one’s studies and promote school spirit, varsity student athletes in any grade should be exempt P.E..
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