Athletes in PE just isn’t worth it


Some athletes play sports outside of school, so they still have to do PE.

Angie Gulizia, Editor in Chief

PE is usually a way for students that aren’t normally active to get their much-needed exercise at school. In San Jose Unified, if students play school sports, they have the option to opt out of PE their sophomore year. However, some students only play competitive sports outside of school, making them ineligible to opt out.

There are many reasons why students might participate in club sports. Some students choose to play club sports because it could prepare them better for college sports. According to a survey by the NCAA, over 90% of students playing college sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and swimming played on a club team. Many people find the time to do both, but some can’t and opt for just a club sports team. Another reason is that students might play sports that their school doesn’t offer, such as gymnastics, lacrosse, or hockey. I’m a competitive gymnast, and my situation is the latter. Club sports are just as beneficial as school sports and more so than PE, so kids in these situations should be able to opt out their sophomore year.

Most obviously, kids that do sports outside of school get plenty of exercise. At Gunderson, PE takes up a maximum of 4 hours and 20 minutes a week. Not all of that is even spent exercising since kids need time to change into and out of their PE clothes. Outside of school, most competitive sports practice anywhere from 5 to 20 hours per week. If that doesn’t scream exhausting, I don’t know what does. Even if you only practice for 5 hours, chances are the workouts you’re doing are on a whole other level.

PE workouts are generally pretty easy. They’re meant to be reasonable enough for everyone to complete, regardless of your athletic ability. Some people might feel challenged, that isn’t the case for everyone. I’m definitely not. Club sports team practices are intense. If you’re constantly pushing yourself to your max, easy workouts can get boring. I come home from gymnastics practice ready to fall over, while I hardly break a sweat during PE. For athletes, PE can end up being a burden with no purpose instead of a chance to push yourself and try new things.

Some might argue that PE has benefits other than exercise. There are curriculums that reinforce healthy eating and taking care of yourself. It also helps kids build teamwork and leadership skills. Shouldn’t it be mandatory, then? I don’t think so. Club sports are so much more than just working out at practice. Coaches talk to their athletes about how important it is to keep yourself healthy so you can perform your best at practice and competitions. You also have to learn to get along with your teammates— you are a team, after all. Club sports teach you even more life skills on top of those two, such as respect and how to work hard.

What gives, SJUSD? I and many other athletes in high schools districtwide spend hours dedicating ourselves to our sports. We’ve worked hard to reach our goals and have learned so many life skills. It just doesn’t make sense to force us to take a class that has no added benefit. Club athletes are tired of taking PE—we just want to opt out.