Monday, September 22, 2014

Keeping an eye on the ball

As you probably know, Andre loves sports, especially when it entails leaving the books behind for a while. For the first time last year, the students who were admitted to his school at sec 1 via sports DSA or appeals were placed in the same class. Being in a sports class means that Andre is surrounded by kids who reinforce his love of all things active. PE is where his classmates are the most competitive, even in a casual game. When a PE period is cancelled, it is met with the most vehement and indignant outcry.

His school organises sabbaticals for the students at the end of each year and this year, every single one of Andre's classmates went for a sports activity - from fencing to golf. No hip hop or K-pop dancing for them, thank you very much. Last year, Andre picked up air rifle which he enjoyed very much. This year, he's going for archery.

The situation couldn't be more different with Lesley-Anne. Lesley-Anne dislikes sports and PE is her most hated period, especially when it involves running the dreaded 2.4km. She claims that she passes her NAPFA only through sheer will power, as failing the 2.4km run means you'll have to do it again.

Lesley-Anne has another handicap and that is, she's petite. Very petite. This means that the only sports she is any good at are table tennis (because it's played on a small table) and floorball (because the ball is on the ground). Any sport that involves the ball flying through the air is a dead sport to her. Netball. Volleyball. Basketball. Captain's ball. To add to the challenge, she's sometimes assigned as a defender against a tall, sporty guy. She said despairingly, "What do they expect me to do? Tickle him?" Game over.

During one PE session, the class had to play frisbee. A friend called out to Lesley-Anne to pass him the frisbee. Instead of throwing it, she WALKED over and handed him the frisbee. Her reasoning? "If I'd thrown it, it would have flown somewhere else."

If it's any consolation, being in a humanities class means she's in good company. Many of her classmates veer towards the performing arts and more creative activities, meaning that apart from the handful of sports kids, the rest of them can't run/jump/catch a ball to save their lives. From what Lesley-Anne tells me, PE is often a comedy of errors, with kids tripping over their own two feet, throwing balls backwards or hurling balls randomly to the wrong teammate. When the school organised a cross-country run, the class groaned. Then on the day of the run, it rained so heavily it flooded and the run had to be postponed. A classmate mused, "I think we prayed too hard for rain."

They say dancers have good hand-eye coordination but this doesn't seem to bear out in sports. Lesley-Anne's class has three dancers (her included) and regardless of gender, keeping the ball in play remains an elusive dream for them. During a PE lesson, a volleyball match was arranged and before the game, the teacher announced that the losing team would have to do pushups. The hapless members in Lesley-Anne's team looked at each other and asked the teacher, "Can we just do the pushups now?"

Lesley-Anne's sports anecdotes sometimes make me laugh until I cry. So maybe that's the silver lining - even though sports is not fun for her, at least it's funny (for me). 


Rachel Tan said...

What are your thoughts about placing all sports students in the same class? Many schools practise that, I think.

When I was in HCJC many moons ago, all school team kids were excused from PE :p

monlim said...

Rachel: There are differing opinions on placing all sports students in one class. There are definitely pros and cons. I can only speak from Andre's experience - I think in his case, it was good for him cos the sports kids share a similar mentality so the class worked well together and they're also closer in standard when it comes to academics.

School team kids excused from PE? Alamak! What do they do then during PE lessons?

monlim said...

Rachel: Received your comment but I can't publish part comments. Also don't have your email address. If you like, you can ping me using the Kids and Education FB message.

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