P.E. Classes Vital To Youth Good Health

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During my 37 years in public education I had the privilege of meeting many excellent physical education teachers, many of whom have became lifelong friends.

Working alongside them has helped me develop a true appreciation of the value of P.E. in boys’ lives.

Over the years, I’ve learned that physical education is one of the most important classes during the school day.

That might sound odd coming from a retired math teacher, but years in the classroom taught me that the value of P.E. can never be overstated.

First off, P.E. is an excellent link to good health, it helps build self-esteem, cooperation, teamwork and sportsmanship and promotes academic learning because good cardiovascular health derived from P.E. activities produces longer attention spans and better concentration in the classroom.

Because of my appreciation for vigorous P.E. classes in public schools, I was thrilled when PUSD Superintendent Casey O’Brien told me that longtime elementary school teacher and old friend Bruce Haught will move to the high school next year as boys’ P.E. and weight training teacher.

Bruce was one of the first persons I met in Payson when my wife and I moved here in 1985. I know him as just the type of teacher PHS students will flourish under.

He’s somewhat old school, tough, but understanding, has a genuine interest in the well-being of youth and is a no-nonsense kind of teacher.

Great call by the district to name him the high school’s physical education teacher.

Locker Room Drill

I always harbored a secret ambition to be a P.E. teacher, but experience has taught that when district budget cuts are made and teacher layoffs are eminent, P.E. teachers could be the first to go.

That’s a shame, but that’s often been the case in public education.

Knowing that, I remained in the math classroom, but when substitutes were needed for P.E. classes I was quick to volunteer.

A few years before retiring in 2005, the requests to substitute stopped coming my way.

I know why.

They were discontinued after I substituted in an eighth grade P.E. class filled with about 35 indecorous teenagers.

About midway through the class, I became a bit tired of their monkey business, so I called upon my coaching experience and decided the best activity for the rowdy boys was what we call a “Locker Room Drill.”

It’s not a patented P.E. activity, but was thought up by legendary Arizona high school football coach Jesse Parker.

I learned of the drill at a football camp I was working after rain forced coaches and campers indoors.

The drill lasts for about 20 minutes and while it gets the juices flowing, adrenaline pumping and sweat pouring, it certainly isn’t injurious, detrimental, unsafe or involve any contact.

Many former Longhorn football players have gone through several of the drills during their prep careers, as have high school players around the state.

Some players even say they enjoy the drill because it is invigorating, stimulating and challenging.

However, the eighth grade P.E. students I asked to do the drill on the day I substituted apparently didn’t share that enthusiasm for the Locker Room Drill.

I know, because when I arrived at school the morning after teaching the P.E. class, I was summoned to the principal’s office.

There, I was told that more than a few mothers had called school to complain about my use of the Locker Room Drill.

Apparently my P.E. students of the previous day had complained to their moms about the drill.

From that day on, I was never again asked to substitute in a P.E. classroom.

Shucks, what a short P.E. career I had.

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