Letter: There’s no IM in PE

This past week’s dealings on SELFREG prompted me to remember one of my favorite beefs in regard to requirements at Williams College – specifically, the fact that IM sports do not count toward fulfilling a student’s physical education requirement. Unlike many students, I do not believe that the PE requirement is necessarily a bad idea – I have always believed that there are critical lessons a person can learn through athletics that might otherwise elude them; moreover, now that I am signed up for my PE class, I am even looking forward to taking tennis lessons to some extent.

That said, I find it ridiculous that the three seasons of IM sports that I have participated in (two of soccer, one of softball and while we’re counting, parts of a season of basketball) mean nothing where earning PE credit is concerned. My tennis class this fall meets twice a week for 1 hour 15 minutes; with three games of 50 minutes a week, IM soccer players will spend more time on the fields this fall than the players in my tennis class will spend on the court per week. I understand that the IM program is susceptible to truancy, but I fail to understand why people who go out there every game day should be told that their athletic endeavors mean nothing in the College’s eyes. Weigh hours logged on the IM field differently if you have to, but it seems unfair to disregard them entirely.

Perhaps the College feels that its instructors are the best gig in town, but because I have yet to take a Williams-sponsored PE class, I can’t speak to whether or not this is true. I do know I learned a lot of things when I squared off against the likes of Ted Giannacopoulos, Josef Powell and Marc Williams – three of the most talented soccer players this institution has ever had – not the least of which was that I had never played against such incredible competition. If nothing else, I was satisfying the whims of virtually every coach I ever had, each of whom had insisted at one point or another that perhaps the best way to improve one’s ability is to play against superior competition.

I urge the College to reexamine its attitude toward IM sports where tallying PE credits is concerned.

Bart Clareman ’05