Milton Should Acknowledge Arts and Sports Equally
by Lydia Yang on Friday, October 16th, 2015
Drama and athletics are both similar and different. Both require effort, dedication, and skill. Both meet daily for practice or rehearsal. However, the two are largely different for a reason that affects almost every student at Milton Academy: playing on a school team fulfills a sports credit, while acting in a play does not. Our school motto challenges us to “Dare to be True,” yet strenuous classwork, homework, extracurriculars, and sports credits limit our time, making it difficult to follow our interests and continually practice this motto. It is even more difficult to find the time to explore your interests if your free periods are filled by PE and play practice consumes your afternoons.
In theory, the sports requirement provides the opportunity for students, who wouldn’t usually play a sport, to try something new. According to the course catalogue, the athletic requirement helps “individual students make healthy life choices.” However, most students do not see PE classes as an opportunity for growth, but as an unfortunate and time-consuming obligation. Henry Claudy (II), the student director for the Class IV play, believes that the requirement “makes it harder for theater kids to do work” and that “it puts off people from actually participating in the plays.” Faculty encourage students to participate in productions, and perhaps students would be more inclined to listen if not for the PE requirement.
Furthermore, the athletic requirement prevents students of all kinds from focusing on their own interests. The athletic requirement causes problems not only for actors, but also for athletes who dedicate themselves to only one sport, play on club teams, or play sports not offered at Milton. Athletes cannot fulfill their requirement by playing on club teams or playing a sport that is not offered by Milton, such as crew, even though these out-of-school activities are arguably much more strenuous than PE classes or CPR.
Although it is true that athletics require a certain level of physical strength that is usually unnecessary for actors, theatre is equally time consuming and sometimes just as tiring. “Being in a play or a musical involves a substantial amount of physical activity, such as learning choreography and building sets,” noted Claudia Chung (III) in regards to her experience with the 1212 Play and the Spring production. For Joy Lee (II), who starred in two shows last year, having “sports credits for theatre would be a dream” as “theatre requires emotional and physical effort and time in order to play the characters.”
As a tri-season stage manager last year, I realized that having three more frees per week, instead of PE classes, would have greatly benefited me, especially during the havoc of Tech week. During Tech weeks I was tempted to cut PE class in order to finish my daily assignments. Students should not be forced to attend PE classes three times per week; instead, perhaps there should be a certain number of classes required per season. A student, after completing the required number of classes, could use his free periods for his benefit. I do wish, however, that the sports requirement could be waived entirely for those involved in school productions.
If the goal of the required sports credit is to promote physical education, then I believe that the current system is flawed and could be improved with some slight changes. Physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle, but it should not be impossible to incorporate into your preferred lifestyle. It is necessary that Milton makes adjustments that accommodate both athletes and actors.
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