The Most Important Nonsense
I have a GPA of 4.2 and I’m just barely graduating. How is this possible? Two words: PE credits.
I’m not lazy and I’m not fat. I ride my bike to school and get plenty of exercise on my own while being productive. Unfortunately, none of this counts.
The PE requirement is nothing new, and trying to dodge it runs in my family. My grandmother, who grew up in Nazi Germany, dodged the Saturday PE classes because she had polio and wasn’t physically able. Her friends were jealous of her. My father tried dodging PE by simply not going and ended up taking two periods a day his senior year. He doesn’t have the fondest memories of PE teachers.
PE has good intentions. Obesity is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and PE teaches us to have a healthy and active lifestyle so that we don’t become obese. Or does it? I believe it actually does the opposite. Only forced exercise counts for PE credits; thus, no one exercises for the sake of being fit because it doesn’t help them graduate.
I only have 12.5 PE credits: 10 from Freshman year and 2.5 from badminton during junior year. People ask me, “Why didn’t you just take PE Sophomore year and get it over with?” I think the answer is pretty obvious. Let’s look at it this way – at the end of Freshman year we finally get to choose our classes. We are presented with a chocolate box full of possible electives. Choosing PE from that is like purposefully choosing the gross fruit and nut chocolate. Well, I much prefer the butterscotch, so I chose Photography.
Junior year, my friends convinced me to do a sport. I tried track, and lasted for a day. I just didn’t enjoy being immediately judged by my height and being yelled at for not being coordinated enough, something I do not consider my fault. So, I switched into badminton and spent nearly three months playing a sport I neither was good at nor enjoyed for two hours every school day.
PE credits are no problem for people who love playing sports, but not everyone likes sports. There are also people who would play a sport, but are too busy trying to get A’s in their AP classes and just can’t make the time commitment. Maybe even these people would stay after school for two hours everyday if a season of sports was worth 10 credits. Why is an entire season of a sport only 2.5 PE credits? Sure, a sports season lasts about as long as a quarter, but PE doesn’t add up to two hours every school day and it never pulls you out of class early.
Making a sports season only worth 2.5 credits creates problems for even dedicated athletes. If you love football and you play it all four years of high school you still wont graduate. Why? Because you will be 2.5 credits short. You can’t get credit for sports you play Freshman year while doing mandatory PE (don’t even get me started on that), so you can take an extra quarter of PE or play a sport to which you aren’t dedicated. Most opt for a sport, even if they aren’t good at it, and people wonder why our teams aren’t great. Perhaps if only the people who liked sports, played sports, we would win every now and then.
I am going to graduate, though. I’m taking classes at Cañada to get my final credits. I’m still losing two hours of my afternoons for PE, but I don’t see any way around it. I don’t ever want to take PE again because the uniforms and the drill sergeant attitude remind me of one thing: jail. I’d like to be on the honor roll and not graduate simply to make a point about PE credits, but I’m afraid no one would get it.
PE should be optional, but I don’t think it ever will be. I guess I’ll just put my head down and play by the rules. Isn’t it great how high school encourages us to expand our horizons?
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