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The Foreword

The Student News Site of Allderdice High School

The Foreword

Should Student-Athletes Go to Gym Class?

Thomas Aldous
Scenes from an Allderdice gym class.

Gym class is a subject that most students across the world have experienced for the majority of their education, but some wonder if the period is necessary or if simply doing a sport should count as participation. In the younger stages of school, gym class was a fun class that many kids would look forward to. Playing games like dodgeball and football was frequently the highlight of the day. However, at the high school level, especially at Allderdice, it can turn into a 45-minute loop of walking in circles.

When it comes to playing sports in high school, an article from EducationWeek showed that 57% of high schoolers played at least one sport in the past year. And with schools increasing homework, kids have less time than ever to maintain good grades and stay focused on school. An article from Through Education explains how over 60% of kids in high school and college need help with anxiety and depression, and homework is only adding to that stress. With most sports being directly after school, many kids will have to eat dinner immediately after getting home, before focusing on school for the rest of the night, a situation which leads to less sleep. 68% of high school students reported that they were getting less than seven hours of sleep, even though the recommendation is 8-10 hours. 

With students having more work for school and less sleep, some are wondering if gym class is a necessary activity that athletes should have to participate in. Instead of gym, students could fit in another class or even have a study hall which could contribute to less homework and improve the anxiety and mental health of students. On the other hand, gym is an important class to many, with some thinking that hosting other classes for athletes that don’t have gym will be too much on staff and teachers. Also, students still have lots of time to finish other work, especially after school.

When talking to Pittsburgh Allderdice High School students, there were many mixed opinions. Vipin Bhat, a dual-athlete senior, said, “Athletes should have to take gym. Even if gym class isn’t a fun time to hang out with friends, it would be a logistical headache for the school and other teachers to teach a class of athletes 2-3 times a week instead of them going to gym class. In all cases, I think it’s better for student-athletes to take gym class.” While some lean towards having more time for homework and other activities, some also bring in the idea that the school would not be able to handle this many students skipping class as it would mean more classes would have to be available. 

However, many students still believe that gym is an unnecessary period for athletes. Sylvia Svoboda, a tri-athlete at Allderdice, said, “Since I already have a sport after school, I believe that I could use my gym time to get homework done and be less stressed about school.” Spoboda explains that since the class has no active benefit, the time could be used more productively for completing tasks like schoolwork. She also explains how homework is a large stress factor and that this extra time could be used to prevent that.

Many students have different opinions on the matter. However, the only people who could greatly influence the situation are school staff and teachers. When talking to gym and health teacher Ms. Mastroianni, she said, “Kids should have to go to gym class because sitting all day is not good for us. It gives us a break in our day and helps us cognitively.” When asked about students who have gym during the last period of the day and then have to go straight to a sport she said, “ I still think that those students should have to go to 10th-period gym, the class could be used as a warm-up for their sport and will help them be ready.” Mastroianni explains that gym class is important to everyone and even if you go directly to a sport after school, gym can be used as a transition period.

In the future, the chances of seeing gym classes disappear for athletes are possible after looking at the pros and cons. Not having the class would provide more time for things like schoolwork and other learning activities, although it would be very challenging for a percentage of the school population to drop a class and find enough space to put them all in. While both sides have ups and downs, the deciding factor is the school and how they decide to handle the situation.

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About the Contributor
Samuel Tobias
Samuel Tobias, Staff Writer
Sam Tobias is a sophomore at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School. He enjoys playing sports and is a member of the Cross Country and Swim Team. In his free time he likes to play video games, hang with friends, and go biking.

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    Deb SaverMar 15, 2024 at 1:32 am

    I was on varsity sports teams year-round. I often had Adaptive Gym where I could choose from studying or lifting weights. Varsity sports are much more rigorous than gym class. There is no reason to risk an athlete getting hurt in a mundane physical education class. The whole point of it is physical fitness after all. While the new gym was being built, we had bowling at Forward Lanes. There are many different ways to get your body moving.