Friday, February 09, 2007

Let's Get Physical

Since I’ve been ragging on state Sen. Jane Nelson a bit lately, I’m glad to be able to say something nice about her today. The former teacher from the Dallas suburb of Lewisville has filed a legislative mandate requiring that students in grades K-8 get at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity every day.

Daily physical education – as opposed to recess – is not a bad idea in an age where chicken-fried dietary habits, over-reliance on cars, awesome advances in gaming and fear of letting kids play outside have rendered more than a third of Texas schoolchildren overweight. Daily physical education was required in Texas until 1995, when the Lege overhauled education laws to focus more on academics.

The only problem with Nelson’s mandate is that it comes with no funds attached. Without any money to hire new staff, this could easily wind up like my 1982 middle school gym class, where you’d show the football coach the elastic band of your blue P.E. shorts underneath your street clothes before loitering in the bleachers for 45 minutes while the coaches retired to their office to smoke cigarettes and mull over game plans. The only thing I learned was that I didn’t like undressing my scrawny, hairless form in front of other boys, especially the ones who were already sporting moustaches.

I take it on faith that Nelson wouldn’t have approved of this any more than I did.

1 comment:

Terence said...

Greg, you may not remember this, since the only friend we had in common was Robbie Palmer, but I too went to Lanier, although in my case only for 7th grade, not 7th through 8th like you I believe. I too remember Lanier's approach to PE. I also remember Lanier being the first place my hitherto mostly Montessori-educated ass was thrust into the reality of public school PE -- particularly the dodge ball. I remember dodge ball being essentially all the weiner little kids like us in the magnet program cowering while a bunch of "Pachucos" (if you recall, that was one of the years when Lowrider fashion was at its height among certain Hispanic students at Lanier, though not among the weiner magnet-program Hispanics like my little friend Eduardo Solis) cornered us in the gym, with the coaches conspicuously oblivious to our plight. I also remember that dark early-80s, drugged-out video game parlor immediately across from the Lanier athletic field. My mother warned me about that place but I still snuck over there before school -- but only sometimes. Now, of course, the entire building the video game place was in has been taken down and rebuilt as a coffee shop. Hail the new Montrose! Still hope to see you if you ever visit North Carolina. Love your blog. -- Terence