GFS and Sports

As many of you know, middle schoolers are required to do two seasons of sports each year. GFS’s website says that sports are an important part of the curriculum and help “develop fundamental skills and and game strategies in an engaging and challenging atmosphere”. However, while GFS makes quite a convincing argument, there are still kids who don’t enjoy sports, who view having to go to sports as the worst part of their day. So, where is the right place to draw the line so that children are happy and get a good amount of exercise?

You could argue that GFS shouldn’t require sports in middle school, as they also require Physical Education. But, team sports offer different opportunities and skills than P.E. does. With sports like soccer and softball, you “experience the lessons of teamwork and sportsmanship”. In P.E., you use teamwork and sportsmanship, but on a much smaller level.

Also, some kids are busy after school. Sure, you can get an exemption for playing a different sport outside of school, but can you get an exemption for music lessons, tutoring, and any other activities you may have in your schedule? Thanks to the GFS sports guidelines, you can’t. So you have to figure out a way to fit your prior commitments into your GFS sports schedule, instead of the other way around.

Homework may have been a problem before, but GFS has fixed that in a number of ways. First of all, they only allow teachers to assign twenty minutes of homework each night per subject. And we only have homework for five subjects, so that adds up to one hour and forty minutes of homework, maximum, each night. Which really isn’t that bad. We also have study halls scattered throughout the week, which is a good way to get homework done. On top of that, sports only go till 4:00 each night, Monday through Thursday.

Some kids just don’t enjoy sports. That’s a fact. And I don’t think GFS would want kids to dread sports everyday, but that does happens sometimes. Coaches try to make practices fun and enjoyable, because they realize that not everyone there really wanted to do field hockey, or tennis, or whatever sport they are participating in. And as a student, you have to go with it. I don’t particularly love sports, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy more than the rest, and so I stick to those. The lesser of all evils.

There is a sports option for kids like that. It isn’t technically a sport, but it counts as a sports credit. It’s called Theater Movement Arts, and in it you work on improv, and acting games, and the past year they taught African Dance and Stage Combat. It isn’t ideal, because there are definitely people who don’t like any of these things, but it’s still a sign that GFS is trying to have other options. It’s currently only a winter sports option, but the people in charge are trying to make it available for other seasons as well.

So, is requiring two seasons of sports too much to ask from a middle schooler? GFS sure doesn’t seem to think so, and you can read more about their program and philosophy here. But all in all, it is simply a matter of opinion.

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