Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is only the latest school to allow students to take combined health/physical education classes online:

In one semester, students complete 40 written assignments, which cover topics such as body composition, nutrition and the benefits of fitness. At the same time, they must log 60 activities, which their parents verify.

The article reports that some students are thriving under this new, non-competitive model. After all, it lets students themselves choose their own activities.

And therein lies the rub for me. I admittedly don’t have a competitive bone in my body. I’ll do my level best at Scrabble or chess, but if my best turns out to be worse than my opponent’s, I really couldn’t care less.

And back in high school, I despised P.E. I took every opportunity I could to skip it – usually to go snowboarding instead. Physical activity wasn’t the problem. Doing activities that didn’t interest me was the problem.

And that was also the benefit. If not for high school P.E., I would never have tried playing volleyball, cricket, softball, soccer or any other of the countless number of sports I suffered through over the course of four years. Thanks to P.E., I discovered unexpected affinities for things I wouldn’t have tried otherwise (hello weightlifting!) and interacted with other students in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise (and in a way you simply can’t match on a computer).

Those are experiences I’d like my own daughter to have. Sure, I can kick a soccer ball around with her in the backyard, but I sure wouldn’t be the best teacher. And I could enroll her in an after-school sport, but given the expense of the classes and equipment, not to mention limited time, she would only be able to try out one or two new sports a year.

So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that her physical education includes actual physical movement and practice with her peers – and that maybe sometime in the course of her school career, she will discover a love for some sport or other activity that will keep her moving her whole life.