Feh and bah. Do we really need to train people to be professional athletes? I mean there’s what, a couple thousand paid positions available? For the single most useless and overpaid occupation in the history of the universe. I don’t see why taxpayers should pay money to fill this demand.
There are many ways to handle stress, and it would be far more cost-efficient to pass out those little-squeeze balls during freshman orientation. Or better yet, hand out gift certificates for free massages during finals week. Choleseral, obesity, and general bad health is the second great bogeyman, but we don’t have to chase down our food anymore and I really don’t see how being fat is that huge of a disadvantage in this day and age. Granted you won’t get as much, but shouldn’t parents protest that, by promoting physical fitness, public schools are making it more likely their children will have sex?
If you want to learn teamwork, join the damn drama club or chess team. Athletics only promote sportsmanship and fair play when the teachers/coaches promote those values, and the same teachers (but not coaches) can promote those valuse in other settings. All mandatory athletics teaches is that some people are good at/interested in sports, and some people aren’t. It teaches competition. It promotes a hierarchy among youths based on physical prowess, rather than inherent goodness.
And granted, most of the above can be said of art, algebra, history, or whatever. But I’d rather live in a world where the artists and intellectuals are the only ones with an easy path to self-esteem than our current one. And forcing a jock who has a one in a million chance of becoming a pro athlete to learn skills he might never need is a sounder investment than forcing someone who has a one in one chance of becoming an accountant to learn how to throw an oblong ball in a tight spiral.
In an ideal world, teachers and students would work to figure out what the student’s talents and predilections are at an early age, and then they’d be allowed to concentrate on and master that, rather than being held to this forced eclecticisism until they’re halfway through college. But its even more maddening when:
A) Part of the forced eclecticism is something as mind-numbingly assinine as baseball.
B) The mind-numbingly assinine part of this eclecticisim is often held to be of more value, and usually goes a long way to shaping social structures for pre-pubescents.
C) I’ve probably mispelled eclecticism a bunch of times.
And, let’s face it, kids will play sports on their own if they want to/are good at it. Forcing people to take phys ed. is like having a mandatory cotton candy eating class. Those who are drawn to cotton candy don’t need to be forced, and those who don’t care for cotton candy are only made miserble.