18 April 2008

Run, Jack, Run!

My daughter, Jack, wore a dress to school yesterday – not knowing/remembering the all-important, timed, 1-mile run in gym class.

She had try-outs for the talent show after school and wanted to look nice while she played “Ode to Joy” on her recorder… through her nose. (She got in, BTW)

So, now she tells me they’re pulling her out of lunch recess to do the run… because we all know how important running is in school.

“Wait! Stop running around with your friends!! Come over here and run so I can time you and let you know if you’re acceptable in our society.”

I never understood why they have track day at school. Ironically, it’s the only school mandated activity which hasn’t been cancelled due to discrimination.

Marci and her classmates had to sit in the courtyard for art class the entire past year because their wheelchair-bound classmate couldn’t get up the short flight of stairs to get into the quad classroom. It would have been humiliating for him to be carried, they tell me, so the rest of the class sat out in the elements – driving rain, falling snow, chilling sleet, blustering wind, freezing cold, glaring sun, blazing heat (Do you like all my adjectives? Did I go too far?) – all because he couldn’t get inside with dignity.

This year they have a ramp.

This little boy cannot run, so why haven’t they cancelled track day? I know running in elongated circles when running isn’t your thing is equivalent to being carried up the stairs for some kids: No dignity involved, here. I guess the grooming of the jocks begins in elementary school, and somebody needs to be last, so thems who are first can judge how first they are. Goodie! After all, how fair would it be if only thems who can run fast and enjoy said activity got together and beat on their chests to see who’s best? How much better it is to have the little ones whose legs aren’t formed, who read more than sweat, and are better crushed by failure because little Johnnie passed the finish line five minutes before they even came around the bend? Don’t worry – they’ll undoubtedly receive a “thanks for being a good sport and participating in this race even though it goes against everything in your nature and desire just so Johnny could beat more than the one other person in the school who enjoys racing and competing” award.

Neener, Neener, Neener – I can run faster than the losers!!! - Some say it builds character to lose. I say it grows uncertainty and inferiority complexes… and an extreme dislike for gym and gym teachers everywhere. (BTW - What does it build in the ‘winners’? Certainly not character.)

And, thus, the hierarchy of social status begins. Separating the wheat from the chaff. Amazingly, not for brains or goodness, but for sheer strength and brutality.

(I’m not implying all jocks are neither intelligent nor kind – I know a few who are both.)

It’s not until these amazing children of insight, intelligence and artistic ability become adults and are able to make their own choices (i.e., to not participate in barbaric activities like, say, the Olympics… which, if you remember is housed in Colorado Springs where they place smelly armpits above elementary schools… so they’ve already begun the de-evolving of the human condition) and are big enough to not be picked on by the apes who can toss a football… and catch it… society can see their worth; their limitless possibilities.

Only kids interested in music join band and honor choir in elementary school.

In jr. high/middle school, only kids interested in art sign up for the art classes, etc.

But everyone, throughout all levels of ‘lower’ (as apposed to higher) education, is required to take classes like: English/Grammar/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies/Government… and gym. …and the thems-in-charge put most of our money into the ‘gym’ part to education’s detriment.

Could somebody please explain that to me?

But, it gets better. Now, at the end of every quarter they give out meaningless, paper awards to all the kids for various reasons like… reading faster; doing homework; showing up for school everyday and on time; being the teacher’s pet… you know, stuff like that. So much so, now any kind of accolade is mundane and commonplace. We give our kids rewards like we give our pets treats – every time they jump high enough or don’t poop in the wrong places.

Why do we have to stroke their egos for doing their jobs? It used to be a ‘reward for a job well done’ and now it’s just a ‘reward for a job done’ – every time the job gets done. In some cases, it seems they make up awards to ensure most of the kids have a reason to walk on stage at least once. (I feel for the kids who don’t even merit a ‘made up’ accomplishment reward. How sucky is that?)

I don’t know what was wrong with waiting until 6th grade (or the final grade in elementary school) to give out awards to the graduating students who deserved an award - not just because they did what they were supposed to do anyway.

Hey! Wait a minute… I got up this morning on time. Where’s my bleeping reward? Knick-knack, Paddywhack – Give this dog a bone, here!

In Joy & Enjoy


Anonymous said...

What's more important - getting a bone OR giving a boner? You decide. Can you have both? Think about it - getting a bone can give you a boner but giving a boner, just might get you a bone...THINK, SANDI, THINK!

RUC#1 said...

Just so you know even when you get into the higher grades they still make you fulfill at least one athletic objective per semester, and whether it gym or weight training it doesn't matter. So, it's not just the elementary kids that are subjected to these activities, it follows them until they get into college and only then are allowed to decide they don't care for it much and won't take it. Also, I think it is okay for them to take an array of different things (from art, band, tech, gym, etc.) while in elementary so they can start getting an idea for what they like more and explore into high school and college. Plus, if they didn't make the kids do physical activities, like said "mile run" they would still have parents on the side saying "well America has the highest obesity rate in the world and they are already cutting out physical activities at an elementary level, so what do they expect?" either way the school system is going to leave a sour taste in some parents mouth, they can't really win for losing. And I think as far as everyone is concerned (even for those "jocks") the mile run sucks, but it definitely doesn't affect anyone long term, at least not so yet as I've encountered. But that's just me.

Sandra Miller Linhart said...

Nobody ever accused me of thinking.

RUC#1 - That's what I said - In highschool all the other 'electives' are just that, but gym (and embarrassing shower stories) follow you to college... which was my point.
I think art, music and the likes are far more important to the building blocks of life than running a mile.
IMHO, gym in school does nothing to help our overweight children lose weight - it just makes them more insecure and humiliated... and don't worry - they'll never cut physical torture from the school system, elementary or elsewhere. They've cut music, art, tech, home ec and other subjects from most schools, but never gym.

If parents are worried about the obesity rate, they should maybe make the school board re-think serving fast food in the school cafeteria instead of the well-balanced hot meals they served when I was in school. McDonalds would pitch a fit. As would Domino's and Pizza Hut.

It's not the running of the one miler that grinds on my guts- it's timing it and then posting how everyone 'did' in the competition side of it. So, Marci ran her mile 22 seconds longer yesterday than she did in the fall... What does that tell you? It tells me Marci's been more active in the summer, before school started and Mrs. W (PE Teacher) got her hands on the muscles of our children, than she has been all year in gym. With statistics like that, I'm thinking they could scrap gym class.

pass the popcorn, please!