Imagine this: you’re writing an essay. After putting in quite a lot of time and effort every day, you’ve got six pages of your best work. You turn it in to your teacher – and they don’t count it and throw it in the trash.
Yes, that’s a bit of an extreme example, but this is what it feels like to do an after-school sport. I would know – I did synchronized swimming with Walnut Creek’s world-renowned team, Walnut Creek Aquanuts, for two years. Practice was three hours a day, four days during the school week. On weekends, I had up to six-hour practices. Despite all this, my strenuous athletic activity was not counted toward physical education credits at Las Lomas. Now, I must take two additional semesters of a P.E. class instead of challenging myself in courses that interest me.
In this way, students are discouraged from branching out from school-held athletic activities, as well as meeting new people outside of the classroom, because their efforts are only validated if they are included in school curriculum.
I do understand why it’s tricky to validate all students’ exercise without school management and supervision. It is hard to know if students are actually participating outside of school, and how much exercise they’re getting, but this problem can be remedied with a practice log authorized by the sport’s coaches (and a bit of faith that students can manage their own physical activity). This way, students can take the classes that they wish to, as well as getting their much-needed exercise outside of school time.