Lakeland News
  • The Lancer Locker is open Tuesday thru Friday from 2:35 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.
The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

Varsity Athletes Should Be Exempt From Physical Education

Students participate in the gym class Olympics Tug of War competition.
Courtesy of the LRHS Live Feed
Students participate in the gym class Olympics Tug of War competition.

Throughout my twelve years of public education, one thing has always remained consistent – Physical Education. Whether it was kindergarten or now, in my senior year of high school, I’ve always had PE in some form. While I do enjoy a fun gym class with my friends and love all the gym teachers, I’ve always found myself throughout the years somehow sustaining tedious injuries from PE. Whether it was rolling my ankle playing basketball in middle school, or spraining my thumb playing soccer sophomore year, I’ve always found a way to somehow get an annoying injury from gym class. While that may be because I like to try in gym class, the point is, injuries happen in sports, no matter the capacity of competition, and as a varsity athlete, these injuries have hindered my athletic career at times. Due to this, varsity athletes should be exempt from PE.

As my senior year has gone on and I’ve gotten older, I’ve also noticed more than ever the fatigue I’ve experienced from sports. As a three sport varsity athlete, with 12 total varsity letters over the course of my four years at Lakeland, I compete at a high level for the football, wrestling, and track and field teams. Every week, I felt more and more fatigued, even when the practices got easier as the season went on. I’ve begun to wonder, is it gym class that’s keeping me fatigued, even when I have rest days for my sport? While this idea may be a stretch, as I’m probably tired from a long season, it led me to further assert my position that varsity athletes should be exempt from gym class.

Students participate in the gym class Olympics “hungry hungry hippo” activity. (Courtesy of the LRHS Live Feed)

The whole point of gym class is for students to remain active while in school, to assure that they’re staying healthy and somewhat fit, while also helping prevent some mental illnesses such as depression. This, in theory, is an excellent idea for students who don’t receive any activity outside of gym class. However, students who participate in varsity sports receive more than enough activity through cardio, weight training, or other forms of exercise that these students receive from within their sports. Therefore, students who participate in varsity sports already receive the benefits from participating in PE from the sports that they play. Also, allowing for students to be exempt from PE if they are a varsity athlete also gives students more of an incentive to try out for a sport in the first place. With a greater influx of athletes, Lakeland and many other high schools may find more “diamond in the rough” athletes, who can be difference makers in many sports. These potential superstar athletes may never go out for sports without the incentive of getting out of PE.

PE puts an unnecessary strain on athletes that should be solely focused on their varsity sport, and not worry about a grade in gym class or whether or not they “tried hard enough.” I also believe that gym class puts an unnecessary risk on students of injury. Just this year, multiple varsity baseball players have sustained injuries from gym class activities, as well as an athlete for the track team, who had varsity aspirations before breaking his arm in gym class. The fact of the matter is, gym class is largely pointless and even dangerous for varsity athletes.

Students participate in the “wheel barrow” section of the relay race in this year’s gym class Olympics. (Courtesy of the LRHS Live Feed)

When asked by the Lancer Ledger, many of Lakeland’s strongest varsity athletes felt similarly. When asked if he believed varsity athletes should participate in PE, sophomore Logan Gray stated, “No, I don’t think so. The point of PE is to provide exercise and health to students, especially in case they don’t regularly have it. Varsity level athletes already participate in many forms of exercise, including strength training, speed/agility training, and conditioning in their programs. PE is often useless to most varsity athletes as the very large majority are already more than physically capable when speaking for what happens in the class and exercise nearly if not daily.” Gray, who competes in the 100 and 200 for the track team, just received 1st Team All Big North Independence Honors last week.

Girls varsity athletes also feel a similar sentiment, as senior lacrosse captain Lauren Vignola told the Ledger, “I don’t think varsity athletes should have to participate in PE. This is because it puts athletes at an unnecessary risk for injuries. Instead of taking PE, varsity athletes should be given the option to take another class or be put into a study hall. This would give athletes extra time to learn new things or get more time to finish work they otherwise wouldn’t be able to due to their varsity sport.” Vignola received 1st Team All Passaic County honors last year and is going to play lacrosse collegiately next year.

To assure that students don’t join a random sport just to get out of PE, I propose that only definite varsity starters are exempt from PE. This allows for multiple positives, including committed athletes joining sports in an attempt to make varsity and other students staying in sports who might’ve quit without hopes of being exempt from PE. This will also allow for PE classes to be composed of mostly non-athletes, allowing for people who usually may be outplayed in gym class by athletes to have an opportunity to have fun and compete evenly with other non-athletes.

Students line up to participate in an event for the gym class Olympics. (Courtesy of the LRHS Live Feed)

To replace PE, Vignola provided a great idea, with athletes having the option to either use the time as a graded study hall or to pick up another class. Students who take the study hall will have the opportunity to use the time for completing homework. This extra time is extremely beneficial, as many athletes miss a lot of time to do homework, as varsity practices are very long. Students who will take the study hall will join the required health class for one quarter, and have the study hall for the other three quarters. As for students who pick up another class, they can choose to take health during the summer online, or as an online seminar during the school year. Overall, picking up another class allows students to take another elective they’re interested in, or even an AP class which gives them a chance to receive a college credit.

Whether it’s gym class Pillo Polo or the Super Bowl, there will always be injuries from competitive sports, and overall, the benefits for varsity athletes being exempt from PE outweigh the drawbacks. If they were to be exempt from PE, athletes will receive more rest and be of less risk of injury while having the opportunity to receive more time to finish homework or take interesting AP’s or electives.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sean Walker
Sean Walker, Staff Writer
Sean is a senior at LRHS and this is his first year writing for the Lancer Ledger. He is excited to be taking Journalism 1 because it will allow him to write about things he's passionate about, such as sports, history, and entertainment. At LRHS, Walker participates in wrestling, football, and track and field, and is a member of the National Honors Society. Overall, Walker looks forward to strengthening his writing through the field of journalism this year.

Comments (0)

All The Lancer Ledger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *