There are is a lot of discussion, today, about how our children are becoming more overweight and unhealthy than ever before. Children today are on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, which usually is only seen in adults. Children are also suffering from depression as a result of today's' pressures on them. only seen in adults. There is debate about making schools lunches healthier and some schools have removed vending machines. When the No Child left Behind Bill was passed, many schools eliminated PE, art and music programs so the they could concentrate in reading , math and science, in order to raise test scores. Richard Simmons has a campaign to include mandatory PE in the Schools. He is supporting a Bill in Congress called the FIT Kids Bill. He is asking people to show support for this bill by contacting government officials including President-Elect Obama.
Since Richard spoke to a Congressional hearing about childhood obesity, I've been thinking more about my own PE adventures. At first I didn't remember having PE in elementary school but then I dredged up the memory of enforced volleyball games and square dancing. I hated them both. I couldn't hit the ball over the net ever! And I waited anxiously until bell rang and I could return to the safety of my classroom where I could throw words and ideas over the net, with the best of them, all day long! One day, most of the fifth grade class had to stay in for recess for not doing an assignment right. There were so few of us outside I decided to try to play tether ball. Most of the kids out there were my friends so I felt like it was safe to try because all the tether ball “jock girls” were inside. When it was my turn I stepped into place, excitedly trying to do my best, when the ball came my way. My hands went up but they didn't hit the ball, they hit my glasses off my face and they crashed to the ground, breaking. No more sports for me I decided! It makes me laugh to write about it now but it sure wasn't funny to that 10 year old little, fat girl, who was embarrassed in front of her friends and had to face her parents that day with a pair of broken glasses that were not going to be easy to pay for.
By the time I got to high school, I was having plastic surgery every summer on my face, so PE excuses were very easy to come by and readily accepted by me. I had study halls and worked in the school office instead. I didn't start to get any kind of real physical activity until I started working out with Richard Simmons, ten years ago. But I'm certainly glad his videos don't include tether ball!