It’s that time of the year again: course registration time! One of the jokes that you will hear pretty frequently at Pomona College is: “I’m a PE major.” With a list of more than 70 PE classes to choose from, it’s hard to resist the temptation to try out a few new sports while staying loyal to the old ones that you’ve always been passionate about.
Um ... except that’s not quite the case for me, someone who is pretty terrible at any and all given sports. Yet, for one reason or another, this semester I signed up for three PE classes – Zumba, table tennis, and playground games – in addition to five full-credit classes. Call me crazy, but I certainly don’t regret this decision. In fact, the process has made me more fond of sports.
Among the highlights of my PE classes are the countless high-energy merengue and salsa songs that are still stuck in my head, a field trip to a table tennis club ran by a former Olympics champion in Pasadena (and the delicious In-N-Out burgers that subsequently rewarded our empty stomachs after two hours of intense ping pong), and inventing new collaborative playground games – perhaps my favourite one is a nine-square version of four-square that we called “firepit”, where we have a food-themed glossary for each square.
It can be very hard for college students to feel motivated to do physical exercise, given the amount of coursework, extracurricular engagements, and part time jobs or internships that many of us have. But despite being very familiar with the cliché that you need to take care of yourself before succeeding in life’s endeavours, I have always prioritised other to-do items over sport. After all, studying for an exam, or writing a paper and proofreading it many times before submitting has a direct effect on our transcripts. Taking the time to do an internship and learning from people in the professional realm can educate us on what we are truly passionate about career-wise, and can potentially open up more opportunities.
Sport, on the other hand, can be viewed as something we do for fun. From a practical angle, we may not see the immediate benefits that sport can bring us, but surely, in the long run, the happiness and positive energy that exercise gives us can really make a difference.