Personally, I don't have much against PE in school, really. I grew up, school wise, in the late 70s and 80s, and whilst for the most of it, I wasn't sporty at all, towards the latter end of my high-school time, I'd started lifting weights in a gym (outside of school) and working out in a boxing gym or other martial arts places.
From my experience, the sports teachers I knew, seemed to be more pleased about effort, more than anything. Sure, I've no doubt they had more appreciation of the golden boys and girls who were truly good at sport, but when I'd put in effort, they seemed to appreciate it, and from about the age of 15 onwards, seemed happy to let me use the weights at school during PE / games lessons - which suited everybody, and I think it showed that all they really wanted to see what some kind of effort, even if it didn't show much attainment.
The only time I ever saw a sports teacher use corporal punishment (the slipper) it was to a lad larking about whilst doing the high jump. And I think what had annoyed the teacher, being that this lad had some talent for it, but was too interested in playing the fool and being the class clown. At the time, I thought it a harsh overreaction - it almost certainly was - but I recognised why.
All that said, I have kids who go to school, and physical activity is important - not necessarily to the degree of being particularly good at a sport, but regularly getting exercise and being active - my ideal would be (I suppose like other academic subjects) some aspect of PE that sparks an interest or encourages them to do some physical activity that they enjoy and will sustain.
Railing against some of the "Anyone that believes it's about the taking part, has never won anything." rhetoric, because it misses the point and smacks of being entirely unthinking, that in many cases, it's not about the kids or what they want - in a lot of cases it's mostly about the parents. No doubt, there are some very real talents in certain sports that could really make it, and will make a go of it, that truly need encouraging from a point where they've shown some decent talent, that they want to pursue it, and have already put in a lot of effort. The reality, though? I suspect that's a vanishingly small contingent of the loud-mouthed, have-a-go-heros and over-competitive mums and dads, that get hoarse-voiced at school sporting events.
The vast majority of kids, still need to be kids - and yes, need activity in their life, and yes, competition isn't a dirty word. I'm far from convinced that as many that do, really need the brow-beating and screaming hysterics of parents, though, who seem more concerned about what's going on for their own ends, rather than their kids.
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