A Toast to Sports

THINK sports, and fitness comes to mind. For the not so physically inclined, sports is not appealing at all. There’s the outdoor factor, the heat, that stinky, sweaty feeling, the bugs, the exhaustion. This way of looking at sports, though, is pessimistic. It is certainly the world view of a slacker, slackers just like me.

How can I convince myself that sports is good for me? I’m going to try.

Sports makes us healthy, sports makes us fit. When our fitness level improves, we would experience greater vitality and stamina. The result? Increased focus and concentration, always a good thing for students who are constantly bombarded with homework and all kinds of projects. As students, there is a tendency to lead sedentary lives. After all, studying is our top priority. However, it is a known fact that the more you sit, the more sluggish you become.

For this reason, students should participate in at least one sports CCA. Presently, it is not compulsory, so the less sports-inclined students can turn their eyes away from the more physically demanding CCAs such as hockey, softball, netball, athletics, anything that makes you sweat, burn your calories, and increase your heart rate.

These very students tend to go for the lighter weight CCAs, almost always called some kind of “Club”—Entrepreneurship Club, Infocomm Club, or Environmental Club, all of which suffer a bad reputation: “lame” and “loser” are the usual adjectives associated with them, and for good reason. Attending a club meeting demands only two hours per week, as opposed to six hours for a sports CCA. Show up at a club meeting, and what do you end up doing? Sitting down, again.

Then, you might argue, there’s always PE, physical education. But that, again, is only two hours in a week, split across an hour session twice a week. Unless students take the initiative to exercise outside school hours, their quota of physical activity is going to be low, but of course. Just look at the ton of tuition and remedials they have. More bum on the chair, more sedentary disaster.

Considering that childhood obesity rate here has also risen from 9 per cent in 2005 to 10.9 per cent in 2011, according to the Health Promotion Board, sports CCAs are all the more vital. Exercise can counter obesity, not only by increasing caloric use but by raising the metabolism so that more calories are used during activities throughout the day, including sleep. Burning excess calories and ultimately losing unwanted kilograms can become a great esteem-booster for those who are overweight. In this sense, sports is more than just something physical. It has a salutary effect on the mind and the spirit. More than anything else, sports builds character and discipline, even teamwork.

It is precisely why students are thrown into Outward Bound School-inspired camps. Those two-, sometimes three-day outings are intensely physical. They mirror sports. If camps are compulsory, why shouldn’t sports CCAs be as well?

Rise up to action, schools! Make every student participate in at least one sports CCA. This does not include, of course, students with special health issues. The initiative will force me to do some sports, the girl who never likes to move, the girl who’s been too cosy in the Entrepreneurship Club not because she is learning anything fancy, but because she gets to rack up all CCA attendance points. Now, that’s pretty lame!

(572 words)

***
Denise Yang, Secondary Four
March 2016

Also by Denise: The Wonders of Technology


This essay was written in response to the question:
Do you feel that all students should be made to participate in at least one sports CCA? Give reasons to support your point of view.

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