Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Magic 8 ball says Yes!

A Revolution in Physical Education? Check this out!

I did my student teaching while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology Education in the Spring of  2000.  My teaching assignment was simple take a bunch of 7th & 8th graders, in a very traditional physical education class,  and help them pursue a life of  health and fitness.  I was pretty certain that I could persuade my students to do this using things that motivated me like organized sports. Easier said than done, not much has changed in the last 50 years, minus the required T-shirts and short colored shorts (I am visualizing the Wonder Years here). Teach students how to shoot a basketball, run a mile, dodge or catch a ball, and help them learn a variety of other sports related skills as if we are the farm system weeding out the strong from the weak for our varsity sports rule the day.  There is nothing wrong with that, I really enjoyed PE and sports when I was in school.  I would jump at the change to be competitive in anything because that was my DNA. Not all of my classmates felt the same way, I couldn't understand why.  I guess the real question has less to do with traditional PE methods and more to do with whether or not our students health and fitness  are benefiting from programs that haven't changed a whole lot in the last 50 years.  If Physical Education exists to educate students to be more fit, then why are students and young people becoming less fit.  I know there are host of other variables that can have an impact and I don't mean to simplify it.  The reality is that if something is working, then we would have data to back it up.  Our kids are not getting more fit and we have a health crisis on our hands.  PE programs are being cut, kids are taking online PE, Physical Education is no longer a requirement for graduation, and our students are battling chronic disease like no other time in history.  We have to evaluate what we are doing and then decide if it is having a positive impact or are we failing our students.  Is the goal to teach every single kids how to throw a baseball, or is it to teach every single kid how to take control over their own health and slap chronic disease in the face.  I believe it is the latter and that is why I believe we are on the verge of something transformative.  I cannot predict the future any better than the Magic 8 ball that I used to own, but I do believe that CrossFit in our schools might be a part of the fitness revolution.  Not everyone will like it, but who cares, when did anyone get excited for change.  We are all nostalgic and we all long for the old days, but results will speak louder than the naysayers.  My Magic 8 ball says "Yes" bring it on! Let's do this and lets help our kids take their health back.