Participation in sports should cover gym credits

Elika Beck, Staff writer

Many students at South spend hours every week at sports practices. This time and effort is wasted, however, when it comes to meeting school graduation requirements.

There are only two ways to fulfill gym credits in Minneapolis Public High Schools: taking gym as an elective class for a year or spending time outside of school taking the course online.

One of the requirements for the online physical education class is working out for thirty minutes three times a week, a requirement that is exceeded by many students who participate in sports. At the beginning and end of each session students take a fitness test. This does not seem to be an accurate test of fitness because many students purposely do badly on the test at the beginning so that they appear to have approved over the course.

As a member of the varsity swim team, I spend more than fifteen hours a week getting exercise and learning about healthy eating habits and good nutrition. These lessons and the physical activity I do is not any less constructive than a school gym class. Because of all the time I spend swimming I don’t have an extra hour every day to put into taking a gym course online.

From my lack of free time, one could logically conclude that I should enroll in a gym class as part of my class schedule at South. But that can’t work, as I would have to drop one of my electives, causing me to lose a language class or a music class. Taking up an elective for a gym class that pales in comparison to a sport (especially when its filled with unmotivated students who are only there to meet the requirement), is unappealing to most students and thus they enroll in the online class.

Unfortunately for those students, spots are limited in both the in school and online class. This means they fill up fast leaving some seniors facing problems meeting graduation requirements because of gym class, even if many have been doing sports for years.

I am not against gym class in anyway. It’s a place where students learn about getting exercise, how to discipline themselves, and how to live a healthy life. But all of these things can and are achieved by participating in a high school sport.

Most sports’ seasons are last about the length of half a semester or more, so participating in four seasons could equal one year of credits.

Having sports participation count for gym credits would help students be on track to graduate on time, while still giving them the opportunity to take other electives. It would also allow for smaller class sizes with students who are actually interested in participating in a gym class.