Athletes And Gym Class This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   As the bell rings, I head toward the locker room to get prepared for my gym class. On the way, I pass my coach's office and think ahead to the upcoming soccer game scheduled for six tonight. As I start getting psyched up and wonder how well the opposing team plays, I suddenly remember the huge pile of homework and three quizzes I have the following day. How am I ever going to finish all my homework and study for these quizzes, especially when I'm having a lot of trouble in geometry?

This dilemma happens to many people, including me, on many occasions. As everyone knows, gym class is intended to keep kids in physical shape. Aren't those who play a team sport already getting physically fit in their three hour practices every day, not to mention the two-hour games every other day?

As I start to climb the stairs into the hot locker room, I begin to think what it would be like if students who played a school sport didn't have to participate in gym class. One major advantage would be that, instead of gym class using up one of our class periods, we could have a much- needed study hall. During this time, we could finish our homework, study for tests and quizzes or go for extra help in the subjects that are giving us difficulty.

Let's say a game was scheduled for seven on a school night. It runs until about nine with an additional hour for some of us to get home. Now what time is it? Sometimes I've had to stay up until midnight just to get assignments completed, forget even about studying!

Another reason that athletes shouldn't participate in gym class is the injury aspect. How many times has a member of a team been injured in a gym class either by another student or during the planned activity? I noticed one day in gym class that before we played soccer we did no stretching whatsoever. I had to do this on my own for only about two minutes before we began play. Do you know how many injuries occur due to improper stretching or no stretching at all? I agree that students should participate in gym class, but only if it's their primary time for exercising.

Teachers probably assume that the reason for athletes not wanting a gym class is that we're either lazy or we don't want to bother changing during the day. It is very upsetting though when an athlete is dismissed from the team because of an injury from a gym class or because of failing grades. Academics come before sports, so let athletes do their studies and get extra help during the school day. That way, after school, they'll have practice or games. If this new policy were to go into effect in our high schools, teachers would see a significant rise in their athletes' grades. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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