Online gym isn’t worthwhile for student athletes

I only exaggerate a little bit when I claim online gym to be the bane of my existence. I drag myself home after practice for cross country or skiing. Instead of confronting the pile of legitimately challenging and applicable homework assigned to me, I sit down to my computer and waste my time on busywork about weightlifting or the food pyramid. I log workout after workout just to prove that I’m active. I was a three season Varsity athlete my first two years of high school. I still compete at a Varsity level in two of the most challenging endurance sports offered in high school. So why do I have to prove I’m active through a yearlong online gym class?

So you’re probably wondering why, if online gym is such a waste of time, why do I take it? Could I not just put on some tennies and play some basketball or badminton for an hour in a regular gym class? No. I, like most students, do not have the elective space to waste my time on a class for which I am overqualified. I choose to use my two elective hours on newspaper, art, a language, and this year, PSEO. Many students take band, orchestra, or choir. The students involved in such enriching co-curriculars are typically students who, like me, participate in extracurricular sports. I’ve heard the argument that gym exposes students to new sports or teaches teamwork. But seriously, what student learns soccer is from high school gym? And if you haven’t learned to cooperate by high school, I doubt gym class will help you much. Students simply take gym to satisfy a graduation requirement.

I only have experience with online gym, but I can assuredly claim that the class inspires little actual learning and investigation. In sports, I actually learn about fitness, injury prevention, and nutrition. I take my heart rate, stretch, and cross train. Anything online gym requires me to do or investigate I can guarantee I have encountered as a student athlete.  I  more than satisfy the graduation requirement through sports, so they should exempt me from a year of pointless coursework. I understand that not all sports provide the preparation that mine do. To ensure that students are meeting standards, the district could require athletes to pass a fitness or knowledge test to exempt them from gym. It could count a season of Varsity or JV athletics for a quarter of gym credit. But the bottom line is that busy student athletes should not have to waste their time kicking a soccer ball for an hour, running ten laps around the gym, or doing online assignments about the value of exercise.