Madison High School New PE Program


Nick Taylor

MHS weight room

I hold fond memories of PE as an elementary school student. The scheduled day that my class would go down to the gym and play some games that none of us had ever heard of were unrivaled back then. Everyone was running around and playing whatever while the gym teacher kept everyone orderly and happy (which was not difficult with about 15 or so 7 year olds). To think back on this image of PE as a little kid and look at Physical Education as a now Senior I find that there is no direct downgrade as my description may lead you to believe, just differences.

Physical Education in High School has towed the line between being engaging/ exercising and somewhat of a void in the day since my freshman year. For the past 4 years I have probably played over 200 games pickleball alone, and yet, have never touched the archery equipment I see in the gym’s closet every day I walk into the temporary locker room. This signifies the imbalance I feel has been in the Physical Education of the High School for quite some time. Last year for example we began the year with a unit on flag football though because of everyone’s varying skill levels, those who wished to exempt themselves from the game had just one option: to walk the track. While I do say that the people who don’t wish to participate in sports such as flag football don’t have a choice, that now is false. Just this year, I was put into an “experimental” class where we were given the choice between a High Performance class where we would follow a more traditional routine of play a sport for a few weeks and move on to a new one and a class they called Wellness. Wellness is the answer to the question of “what do I do if I don’t want to play the sport?” where the students participate in less demanding sports, walks, and the occasional yoga session. Naturally due to my ever growing case of senioritis I jumped at the opportunity to do less and signed up, and can now confidently say that the problem persists. While the option is nice the wellness class needs more fine tuning to truly be an answer for the less physically inclined kids. Currently the sports we have done have been tennis (though we have only played tennis like games such as king of the court or jailbreak) PickleBall, and Nitro Ball the walks have been nice though feel like walking the track but with a different coat of paint, however the yoga was different. After the one and only period of Yoga that was held so far my muscles were sore and I had built a considerable sweat that has not been matched it wellness since, though this may be due to my flexibility/ stability of a 95 year old man.

Overall the introduction of the High Performance and Wellness split puts the PE department on the right track to fix itself, if more activities reminiscent of the one yoga class were offered then Wellness would be on par with high performance; but, due to this still being an experimental class there is much to be worked out. Either way the PE classes of the grades below me may begin to feel more and more like the classes of old in the years to come.