Since When Do I Like Gym?

You know what I’m not good at?


In the past, I dreaded going to gym. I hated being with a group of students more athletic than I (and it especially stunk if you had no friends in your class); I despised getting sweaty, and I resented being forced into a sport I had no interest in.

I don’t like playing a sport I’m not good at. It’s embarrassing.

Have you seen me play racquetball? My hand-eye coordination doesn’t exist. I look ridiculous when I run up to the net, only to miss the ball completely. Besides, when am I ever going to, in my adult life, invite a group of my friends over to play a game of racquetball?

However, I’m loving gym now.

This year, the physical education department changed the gym curriculum. For the ninth and tenth grade levels, the teachers made minor adjustments. However, for juniors, the curriculum underwent the biggest change.

Now, all junior P.E. classes get to vote on an activity they want to do. At the end of the voting process, the students are given the top two options. For example, in my class, my classmates and I got to pick on whether we wanted to do volleyball or yoga.

When asked the reason for the change, the physical education department head, David Gusitsch, explained that they changed the curriculum based on feedback from student and parent focus groups and student surveys.

“In terms of end result, we want students to have a more positive experience in physical education and/or physical activities,” Gusitsch said.

Gusitsch also explained the department aimed to teach students activities that they could use for a lifetime, and this seems to be a recurring theme through P.E. curriculums throughout the country. In Naperville, Ill., teachers at Madison Junior High School began integrating heart rate monitors into their P.E. classes; also, instead of having the students run the mile and test their time on it, the school introduced a 12-minute run as a substitute and tracked the students distance over time to see their improvement.

The change in Staples’ curriculum is great because it gives you a chance to try out some activities you may not have tried before or don’t have the time to do outside of school. I don’t think I ever did yoga in any of my gym classes in the past, and I love it.

I’m normally a very stressed-out person, and I’ve noticed that yoga has helped me a lot with my stress. Sitting on the yoga mat with the lights off, my eyes closed, and my ears listening to the sound of waves breaking in the background is so soothing. Moves such as downward dog or child’s pose really stretch out my muscles. Yoga forces my mind to concentrate on the poses instead of the stress of tackling the huge amount of homework I have to do after school.


My favorite part, though, is shavasana, which happens at the end of on the yoga session. It’s when you lie on your back with your palms facing up and you close your eyes. My class did it for almost ten minutes, and I felt so relaxed.

I actually fell asleep.

In the past, I never thought of turning to gym sports as an adult. But, after being given a choice, I actually enjoyed learning something new and I plan on doing yoga for a long time.

I can finally do something I love, and I don’t have to feel bad about being un-athletic.