Give athletes a break: sports should substitute for gym credit


Emma Van Riper ’20


Due to the countless hours of practice and games after school, athletes should be able to use their sports towards their gym credit so that they can accomplish more in school. Student athletes already have a lot to balance, so if they had the option to use their gym period for academic work during the quarter that they partake in their sport, it would be extremely useful.

Yes, gym has some benefits: it gives students a break from academics and helps stimulate the brain through physical activity. But, at the end of the day, it’s frustrating to know that your time could be better spent studying. Playing games in gym when you have hours of homework piling up is frustrating to say the least.

I’m not saying the whole year of gym should be excused.  Physical exertion in gym class has been found to help the brain focus and think more clearly. However, kids will be getting their exercise at their sport shortly after the school day is over.

Most Staples sports have practice right after school until 5:30 p.m. After accounting for time spent driving home, eating dinner and taking a shower, it’s suddenly 7:00 p.m. and athletes are just sitting down to start their work. Of course, this is on a good day, when games don’t end past dark and the bus ride back doesn’t take upwards of an hour. Athletes shouldn’t have to wait until late at the night when they are just getting home and are exhausted to start their work.

More time for athletes to study during the school day would allow for better grades than students would be getting from their “brain stimulation” in gym class. Also, student athletes are able to get their brain stimulation during practice in between school and when they get home to refocus on homework.

Due to the increasingly high levels of stress at Staples, the administration should do anything to alleviate the pressure on students. Giving students this choice to get more done during school could be an extremely useful tool for kids to balance the importance of schoolwork with sports. Student athletes often find it hard to study and get all of their work done during the season their sport is in session, but if they had more time to do it, the better off kids and teachers would be.

Some may choose to have gym class and personally need the break in the school day to get up and moving. However, I really think it would be beneficial for others to help take a load off of the stress if they had the option of dropping gym for the quarter. The choice would allow more flexibility for students and wouldn’t change anything for kids who like the way it currently is.