Be responsible for your own health

Jack Goldfisher

As a wise Jamba Juice Styrofoam cup once told me, my body is a temple. I wholeheartedly believe in this principle, but I also believe that this same idea shouldn’t be thrust upon people who don’t agree with its core concept. The requests I will therefore make are simple: one, that we should eliminate the physical education requirement for students at the upper school and two, that the cafeteria should restart the sale of candy and soda in the cafeteria.

As for my argument against the PE requirement, my thoughts are pretty simple. I am six foot one, weigh 154 pounds, with 11.2 percent body fat, and a bunch of other numbers that, to be honest, I don’t understand, but that place me in the “healthy” range for an adult male. I’m in good physical shape, though I’ll admit the walk from Weiler up to Feldman-Horn leaves me breathless more than you’d suspect. However, I don’t compete in a sport at school, because as a popular internet meme would say “ain’t nobody got time fo dat,” but I do exercise every day and during weekends. During summer, I box and play tennis near-daily and since I don’t have school-related stress, I don’t have episodes of late-night binge candy eating. However, in my time in school, I have only gotten four trimesters of PE credit, out of the six that are required. In the next year and a half, I’ll have to take two more trimesters of PE or I won’t be allowed to graduate with my class.

It seems absurd that neither I, nor a friend of mine that rows crew (often considered to be the most rigorous common sport – have you even seen the Winklevi?) every day, nor many other students who see to assuring their own physical fitness by themselves, earns credit for these activities. I understand the intent of the program, but perhaps if a student can pass a rigorous physical fitness test they shouldn’t be forced to do six trimesters of PE.

I realize that lobbying against a PE requirement and following that up by imploring the school to sell candy and soda in the cafeteria makes me look like I’m part of the increasingly politically relevant Childhood Diabetes lobby. I assure you that I am simply trying to instill in my peers and also myself a drive to stay healthy that isn’t mandated by someone else. We should be presented with the choice of whether or not to eat sugared candy and sodas, and not have this decision made for us.

At some point, we’re all going to have to start working hard for long-term success in life, and in our careers, and not necessarily be working towards the short-term goal of a high letter grade as in high school. Likewise, we will all be responsible for our own health soon enough, and it’s crucially important that we get a sense of how to best do this as early as possible.

It is each person’s individual responsibility to make the choice of what they want to eat, and I think I can speak for the majority of students when I say that we feel ready to take on this responsibility.