Monday, March 17, 2014

Tri for Triumph: Reason to Race #8

Reason to Race #8: For the "non-athletic" kids out there!

notice the balls!
image credit: discovery education
When I was in high school, I was not athletic, at least in the traditional sense. Sure, I was fit and flexible, could tumble and leap around in dance class or with my fellow cheerleaders...but to me, I was still not an Athlete. The reason was simple--by any definition of the word, it seemed to me that if one were an athlete, one could not be afraid of the ball in gym class. And this soundtrack was definitely on repeat in my head all throughout my years in PE: Don't hit it to me, don't hit it to me, don't hit it to me. Oh no! the ball's coming to me...what do I do?!!! 

Throughout middle and high school, it seemed definite to me that the world was divided into two groups: people who were good at sports and those who weren't. And by sports, naturally I mean baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, dodgeball, kickball, Anythingwithaball ball. It's really a shame that it took more than a decade of life beyond high school for me to think about the words team sport and athlete as things which could be separate from the word ball.

I know it seems ridiculous to view myself as non-athletic because I wasn't "good at" sports with a ball, and of course it defies logic to think that there are young people who can view the category of athlete as having such narrow prerequisites. However, I would argue that this still happens to kids today. In fact, by the time my students reach me in middle and high school, many if not most have already defined themselves as athletes or non-athletes. Thankfully, there are more and more dedicated PE teachers and coaches working to broaden the definition of athlete by diversifying team and fitness experiences in schools.

So, reason #8 I'm racing is to show all the "non-athletic" kids out there that the word athlete is much more about personal best, strength, endurance, commitment, sacrifice, and fun than it is about how well you can serve the ball over the net in PE class! I'm also racing because unfortunately, colleges mostly reward team sports with a ball when offering scholarships, and so many talented "non-athletes" go without well-deserved opportunities.

If you'd like to support my race cause, Scholarship America, please donate here. Thank you for your support and encouragement!

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