Let's Ban Team Sports From Gym Class

Jessica Olien: Why must exercise be competitive?

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2013 11:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Yes, kids need their exercise during the school day—but team sports are an unnecessary and potentially scarring way to get it, argues Jessica Olien. She tried hard as a kid in PE, but "the culmination of each class was the annihilation of my self-confidence," she writes at Slate. "We should have been learning about how complicated and capable our bodies were ... Instead we were playing dodgeball," she notes. "The lesson I was learning about my physical body was that it was useless."

Those who back the presence of team sports in gym class will tell you they help kids learn their role in a group—and that was true for Olien, who learned her role "was similar to that of the elderly antelope with a gimpy leg on a nature program." What's more, the sports don't even get kids moving much: An hour of gym class translates into 16 minutes of real exercise, a 2006 study says. Physical activity needn't be competitive: How about having kids run, but not as part of a race? Let's teach them "about what they can do rather than what they can't." Click through for the full piece.

Do we really need team sports in school?
Do we really need team sports in school?   (Shutterstock)
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