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Gym and athletics, too much of a good thing


Being a part of a sports team is hard work for students at MTHS. They have to wake up at six A.M. to catch their bus, work hard in school for seven hours, and then stay after school to practice for three more hours, not to mention that students have to participate in gym for an hour and a half every other day.

Physical education classes progressively became more popular in the 1950s. In New Jersey, students are required to take gym every year they attend high school. At MTHS, student athletes practice for about three hours daily during their seasons. The next day, they are required to exercise vigorously for 84 minutes during school after pulling an all-nighter because they had to study for their Algebra exam.

The purpose of a physical education program is to get adolescents active and fit, but if they are in a school sport, that purpose is already fulfilled. There is no point in taking gym.

“Some days after track practice, I just cannot do gym. I’m too sore and too tired to work out even more. I have to save my energy for practice and I had so much work to catch up on last night. Studying during gym would really help,” said freshman Grace Rudnick.

Instead of gym, student athletes should have the choice of taking part in an in-school study program where they can study and work on assignments they would have completed if they were not on a sports team.

Students would still be required to take the required health classes, and would have to participate in gym when they are off-season.

Athletes should not need gym credits to graduate, since they are technically fulfilling them after school.

With this school study program, students will have better sleeping patterns and get more work done, which leads to overall higher grades in their academic classes.

Students who take part in other non-school sponsored activities, like competitive sports clubs, dance, or gymnastics, would also receive credit based on certain requirements made by the Board of Education to meet New Jersey’s state requirements for high school physical education.

“My dance studio is like my second home. I spend at least 10 hours there a week, and I never regret a second of it. Sometimes though, I feel like it is almost impossible to manage all of my obligations as a student and as a dancer. I try and take the classes I can manage, so I never have to choose between school and dance,” said freshman Katie Fasbach.

Schools across the country, like in Ohio and other Midwestern states, offer this kind of program, which has helped make the workload a lot more manageable for students.

This new opportunity for student athletes can give them a positive experience in high school and allow them to succeed in their academic classes, but still give them the opportunity to pursue what they love to do.

Do you think all students should have to take gym whether or not they participate in athletics after school?

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