You Can’t ‘Just Say No’ To Sports

 I don’t know if I have ever been in so much pain. We’re on squat number thirty-six, it’s 3:45 on Wednesday afternoon, and I’m counting down the minutes until after-school sports are over. I can’t help but think about how nice it would be to be in my bed, instead of out on the tennis courts, the sun beating down, legs burning.

We have a limited amount of time in the day to ourselves between school and homework, and part of our sacred time is taken up by mandatory sports, when there are so many other more enjoyable and productive ways to spend it. For some, sports come easily, and if given the choice they would choose to take them. For others, sports are nothing short of torture that forced them to give up their acting classes or swim practice because of lack of time.

We’re now onto jumping jacks. Fifty sounds like a lot less then it feels like after school. How can everyone else still have so much energy? They must have lots of stamina. Or I just have very little. Yeah, that’s more likely.

The purpose of sports is to help build a community and to fit exercise into the day. There are other ways to build a community, such as in the partner or group activities we do during the day at school, and we get enough exercise between gym, running up and down the stairs so as not to be late for class, running around the soccer game with your siblings outside of school. Many people do organized sports and the required after school ones.

Okay, seriously, I’m starting to think that my coach torturing us on purpose. I mean, come on, more squats?! Is it normal for legs to shake like that? I don’t think so…

Exemptions are easy to get…if you’re training for the Olympics or spending twenty hours a week doing a sport. Otherwise, not so easy. If you’re not scared away by the speech preceding the information needed to get an exemption and the fact that you need to send in your request a year prior, then you will be when you see the amount of time your parents will have to spend finding the answers to the questions to the essay they ask them to write. This essay then goes before a panel of judges who decide whether or not you get accepted for an exemption. Like I said, easy.

Why am I here again? Oh, right, it’s required.

~Illustration by Thea A-L

~Photo courtesy of Will Terry