Remember the Presidential Fitness Challenge when you were in elementary school? My memories revolve around being forced to do the long jump and shuttle run and 200 meter dash, push ups and sit ups....all outside in the heat and all on one day. Things have changed a bit in the last 30 years. They seem to take it all more seriously now, for one thing. Or maybe they did before, but my 10 year old brain couldn't really comprehend why they were making me put my body through all these sporty kinds of activities. Sports and I didn't really mix well back then. So the only cool thing about it was that I was allowed to wear shorts to school that day. (Now that I think about it, the Presidential Fitness Challenge was our actual end of year Field Day. How pathetic is that?)
Anyhow, the Fitness Challenge now is spread out over a few weeks. Most events are done inside the gym instead of out on the grass. There are more events including:
200 meter dash
sit and reach
standing broad jump
Cup stacking? Yep. Cue the song from Sesame Street...
One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
You've got the melody in your head, right? I've been humming it all day.
I understand that cup stacking is all about eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills and all that...but I have to admit that I found it rather humorous to watch the kids all seriously making and un-making stacks as fast as they could...all in the name of physical fitness. Seems a rather broad definition of the word "fitness" when you add cup stacking to these other specific Fitness Challenge events. At least in my opinion...
But scoring in and completing all of these events at your elementary school isn't the end for some students. After tallying overall scores, the 2 boys and 2 girls from each grade 4th-6th with the highest scores move on to a decathlon where they compete against kids from other schools in the district. Brandon was one of the two top boy score-getters in his 5th grade. He was pretty darn excited. This morning I drove him to a neighboring high school for the big event. It was barely controlled chaos with so many kids and so many events to get through but it was fun to watch. Brandon and his team did not place but I think he had a great time. He kicked trash on the curl-ups and push-ups, obviously. Five days a week conditioning at the gym before working on gymnastics skills makes for a pretty strong kid in those areas. But I tell you what, it was a little odd to watch Brandon dribbling a basketball around a bunch of cones. Brandon and basketball hasn't ever been a mixture I've seen before. And probably never will again...good thing I got a picture!