I think it’s about time for me to start complaining a little bit.
There needs to be a new way to sort students that enter an ESS class, because the current talent pool is not evenly distributed. The worst example is soccer because I’m not good at soccer. As I mentioned in a previous column, I have no foot-eye coordination. This has resulted in a mid-season stat line that goes something like no goals on five shots — none of them on goal —while allowing four goals while playing goalie. It’s been rough.
What makes it even more rough is that not all of those goals I allowed were my fault! If you can bend a ball into the back corner of the net from 30 yards out, you should not be enrolled in a class called ‘Beginning Soccer.’ If you can juke me so hard that I eat shit into the turf, I don’t want to see you there. Most importantly, if you take some sick, twisted joy out of doing the above things to soccer newbies such as myself, get out of my class.
It goes the other way, too. I took beginning tennis two years ago because I had never really played the game. Even if I don’t have foot-eye coordination, I have some semblance of hand-eye, putting me a step above the people who were out there just to get some activity.
So how do we solve this problem? First of all, a lot of the responsibilities lie with the teachers of the classes. If someone isn’t even learning new techniques or strategies, why is s/he wasting a given teacher’s time? It’s hard to categorize people, though, and especially so to cut it down to just three categories.
My solution is to introduce more levels of each class, depending on the sport and divided by technique. Sure, there should still be introductory classes just so you can investigate a sport you may be interested in. But do you want to have the biggest tennis serve on the Rob Gym courts? Take the once-weekly class entitled ‘Tennis: Serves.’ Want to add a baseline game to that? Sign up for ‘Tennis: Groundstrokes.’ Easy as pie.
This way, the whole problem of competition is eradicated. “But I love competition,” you say. Well, so do I. Fear not, the competition is still to be had, in intramural sports. I say that anyone enrolled in an ESS class should also be on an intramural team, where teams are decided by a brief tryout in the first week. If you feel as if you’ve been misplaced after that, find a new team that will have you and get to it.
ESS is being removed from the curriculum because it’s costly, not because it’s necessarily a badly-run program. But there are problems with it. Who knows, maybe if they had worked out a kink or two, people would be able to get their exercise on freely. Against evenly matched competition, of course.