The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

What happens in the gym doesn’t stay in the gym

“Team captains, choose your players.”

Those were the most dreaded words in all of gym class. Nothing was worse; not “it’s physical fitness testing time,” or anything else, could compare to the horror of choosing teams.

Honestly, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was an athletic girl, but I didn’t like gym class.

Every time teams were chosen, the two captains would stand at the front of the room facing all the other students. Slowly, they would pick the best, most athletic players out of our line. Each day, I, along with other students, would pray to get picked close to the start of the process, but that never happened.

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We were always the last ones; the people nobody wanted.

If you were the second to last person chosen for a team, that didn’t mean squat; it meant you were a last resort. The last person standing was somehow slightly worse than you.

And the same thing would happen week after week. The same people were always left for last.

I was one of those kids who was often chosen dead last. I’ve gotten over it now, but you can bet it has affected my confidence all the way through high school and into college. Sometimes, the result isn’t just a loss of confidence, but a loss of self worth entirely. I believe this sets up many problems including bully targeting, depression, loss of interest in school and more.

So what if everyone has a chance to be team captain? It doesn’t matter. The process of elimination is still there, and someone will always be last. They’ll always feel those eyes and smirks staring at them as they walk over to their team.

That is cruel. Such a way of creating teams should have never existed.

Situations from the past, whether positive or negative, can have lasting effects on a person throughout their life. It doesn’t matter if the event was big or small; it still matters.

Another common practice in physical education is grading based on how skilled at a certain sport or game someone is, or how many points they score. This too is a degrading process. How can you grade on skill when everyone has different strengths and weaknesses?

Back when I was in high school, I saw some students’ GPA average was affected by their performance in physical education, despite the fact they were trying hard and never skipped a class. In some cases, it made the difference as to whether or not they made it into the top 10 in their class for grades.

I firmly believe physical education is necessary at all age, but it needs to be something people find enjoyable and light-hearted. Gym class does not need to be comparable to the National Guard. Not everyone is good at baseball or basketball, but maybe they excel at soccer, art, music, or math. In fact, gym class represents an opportunity for students to get involved with their health and to have fun exercising. That chance is lost when students are made to feel less valuable than others in a class that’s supposed to be fun and healthy.

I admire those who are going to school to be an educator in any form. That is not an easy task. Educators indeed, especially if they teach younger children, have the abilities to change lives forever. That’s why it is essential educators think before they go through with an activity, whether it’s in the classroom, playground, or gym, because it’ll play out in life.

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What happens in the gym doesn’t stay in the gym