Friday, January 11, 2008

Kids these days

On my drive to work in the mornings, if I haven't recently exhausted my Harry Potter CD's for the eight bazillionth time, I often listen to NPR. And earlier this week they were talking about the current state of PE in America.

Now, I despised PE, as I think the majority of us did, because of the humiliation inherent in having to do aerobics to Jefferson Starship while the rest of the school meandered by on their way to class. Not to mention my general distaste in earlier years of any kind of activity that required me to actually get up and put my book down. Having said that, I certainly recognize the value of PE as part of our school curriculum. For many children it's the only form of exercise they get. So, when this woman started talking about the "new PE", I listened, wondering what on earth they could possibly be doing to make PE new.

Turns out it means no more kickball. No more running boring old laps. And more video enhanced games, whatever that means. Is that like laser tag or something? And that got me to thinking, what the hell is wrong with kickball? I mean, my generation played kickball. My generation did not have the same problem with early childhood obesity that the current generation of children has. My generation did not have video games at all (at least not until Atari's first system came out). So why aren't we going all old school with PE? Come on, let's jazzercise! Let's run laps while "Pass the Dutchie" plays in the background from a boombox. Let's do 500 jumping jacks in a row, before the advent of a decent sports bra. And let's play bloody kickball, the only game in the history of games that virtually any child can be successful at. Come on people, kids aren't getting any exercise at home anymore because it isn't safe to let them run around the neighborhoods by themselves. If we want the next generation to be able to walk upright, let's do the math: Exercise at school ~=maybe not quite as many kids with diabetes by age 5.

Then again, maybe that's new math. I never did get new math.

Sadly, I really did think about this for about a half an hour that morning.


Devilish Southern Belle said...

Maybe by 'video enhanced games', they mean something along the lines of Dance Dance Revolution? Not that exactly, but something video-gamey that might draw in the kids that might not like traditional sports or traditional PE fare. I can see where something like that could work, even though there is nothing wrong with walking, running, kickball, dodgeball, etc.

Sugarmama said...

While I also loathed PE as a kid for exactly the same reasons that you listed--plus, I liked to wear long skirts and it's hard to play softball in a long skirt--I do worry now that my older daughter's school doesn't schedule PE into their days nearly enough. Didn't we have PE everyday when we were kids? I swear, we did.

My favorite development, though, is that walking laps around the playground is used as punishment at her school. So basically, the message is exercise is something you DON'T want to have happen to you. Nice.

Piece of Work said...

OH, I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear that I LOVED PE. And especially kickball. Though I will admit to loathing--absolutely loathing --dodgeball. Who liked that game? Why did we always have to play it?
The parents group at our local elementary pays for a special PE instructor to come every day, just so the kids can get some outside play time.