Bring back the basics

Paige Pfannenstiel

Sometimes I miss the good ol’ days of elementary school P.E. Instead of taking notes, listening to lectures or studying, you just got to run around and play games.

And by games, I mean sports. I remember playing basketball clear back when I was a kindergartner. Growing up in a very small town, we didn’t have very many recreational sports teams for kids to play. Instead, kids learned to play sports in their P.E. classes.

We grew up playing sports in P.E. and dreaming about the day we would be really good. Kindergartners can barely throw a basketball and playing volleyball just hurts their arms, but we all loved it anyway. We idolized the high schoolers for actually being good and all wanted to keep practicing so someday we could be good too.

Now, I babysit for a little girl who goes to a Topeka elementary school. I always ask her what she did in P.E. that day, and every time her response has been “played chase the bouncy ball.”

Chase the bouncy ball? What in the world is that? Maybe I am just completely out of it, but I have never ever heard of chase the bouncy ball before this.

Are these kids going to grow up wanting to play chase the bouncy ball in high school and college? Because last time I checked, we don’t have an Ichabod chase the bouncy ball team.

What happened to teaching kids the fundamental sports and games in elementary school? If they don’t learn these sports there, I don’t know where they will learn them.

Sure, there are recreational teams. But parents are so competitive about those teams that if the kid isn’t already good, they aren’t going to be able to play.

P.E. is where kids are supposed to learn to play basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, softball, tennis, etc. Given we played other games as kids, but they were things like dodgeball and kickball, which still have the same fundamentals as the basic sports.

The only real wildcard day I had as a child in P.E. is the day where we played with the giant colorful parachute. You know, where you all lift it up and then run under it and hide. That’s OK though, because we were six. But chase the bouncy ball everyday? Even six-year-olds have to get tired of that everyday.

For all of you who are going to be P.E. teachers someday, please start teaching these kids some sports again. Otherwise when they get to high school and join the basketball team, they are all just going to be throwing the ball in the air and chasing it around again and again.

Schools need to go back to teaching kids the fundamentals of sports they will actually have the opportunity to play beyond the walls of elementary school P.E. Play H.O.R.S.E., work on serving, teach them how to bat, etc. Either that or work on getting chase the bouncy ball teams in high schools and colleges.