I came across a blog a few months ago that suggested that schools should eliminate all sports programs in order to save money and allow the districts to concentrate on academics. This sounded a little extreme, but I thought about it a lot and came to the conclusion that this writer was onto something—she just had things backwards. So I’m proposing a plan that calls for the opposite—getting rid of the academic curriculum entirely and replacing it with sports. Kids, say goodbye to the three Rs and say hello to the three Bs; Basketball, Baseball, and, well…until I come up with something better, Badminton.
Instead of sitting through mind-numbing math, science and English classes, kids will now be required to participate in interscholastic sports. All day. Every day. This isn’t the P.E.-style just-for-fun stuff; I’m talking full-on “let’s crush the other guys” sports. Kids will be graded on how well they perform; there will be none of this, “Well, I tried” stuff. Kids who help their team win will get a good grade. Kids who fumble, hit the ball into the net, or double dribble constantly, will fail. He’s a fictional character, sure, but Yoda said it best: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” He should know; the guy won a lot of light saber duels.
Those of us with kids in school know what it’s like when they are frustrated with a subject and say something like, “I’m never going need this in the real world.” We said the same thing when we were that age, but have always felt compelled to convince our children that Shakespeare really is going to be vital in their future daily lives. “Learn it anyway,” we say. But the dirty little secret that parents eventually come to know is that we really don’t use anything we learned in our academic classes when we’re all grown up and working for a living. Everything we learned in sports, on the other hand—discipline, teamwork, sock fashion, how to spit seeds, etc.—we use every day.
I’m a writer and editor by trade, but must admit that I couldn’t conjugate a verb if you asked me; and I have no idea what a past participle is. Under my plan, kids can get all the language arts they need by studying rules books—and paying extra attention when cheerleaders do spelling cheers like “S-I-N-K, sink it!” Perhaps they can even alter current cheers to make them more challenging and multi-syllabic, like; “Let’s get a little bit boisterous, B-O-I-S-T-E-R-O-U-S!”
History is…history. This subject has always been warped by the perspective of the historian, anyway. You may have learned that FDR was a hero for pulling the U.S. out of the Depression, but later you were told that he prolonged it with his wacky socialist policies. Your grade school teachers probably taught you that our founding fathers were great, but then you found out in high school that that they were sexist, racist, and just about every other “ist” word. So what’s the point? Under my plan, studying game film will constitute history.
Math? The only people who have ever used math after high school are math teachers, so this is an easy subject to eliminate. My plan: calculators. And teach kids the formula for earned run average. Once they can figure that out, that’s all the math they’ll ever need.
Science may be the most useless subject of all. I have always been pretty happy that I could name all the planets, I guess, but then the scientists went and ruined that by demoting Pluto. Now they think they found something else out there that may or may not be a planet. So…it’s settled; scientists don’t know what they are doing. Science under my plan; physics=rebounding; biology=stretch before a workout; chemistry=protein builds muscle.
Music and art? They stay, because I like music and art.
There are bound to be some detractors to this plan because it is a little radical, but I’m not worried. Once they find out it won’t raise their taxes, they’ll be fine.