A Call To Play

For two and a half hours every week, I get to call the basketball court my classroom.

On somewhat of a whim, I enrolled in PER A241 this semester, catalog speak for Intermediate Basketball. It’s a one-credit course and started midway through last month.

I happily declare it has been one of the best decisions I have made all year.  But I was not so sure when I initially made it.

I have never taken any of the recreational course offerings throughout my time in college.  I always dismissed ballroom dancing and Ultimate Frisbee classes as distractions. Sure, they are fun, but I can do them in my spare time. But maybe subconsciously, I believed if you didn’t learn a sport by college, it was too late. I was not ready to face the embarrassment that comes with learning something for the first time.

By taking a class in a sport I had some experience with, I was drastically reducing the odds of having a slew of embarrassing moments in front of a group of strangers. But I also took the plunge out of my simple love of basketball. I put myself out there.

And, boy, am I glad I did.

Former UAA basketball standout Carl Arts teaches the class and does a phenomenal job.  There are approximately 30 students in the class with a range of skill levels. There is a student that has a 40’’ vertical and another with both the beard and jump shot of James Harden. There are students with hearing disabilities and others with complaining abilities. There are students who score a lot, and some who score a little. And yet Coach Arts is able to teach all of them. As an intermediate-level class, the instruction is centered more on strategy than on dribbling, shooting and passing. And in that department, everyone has something to learn.

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I have found the class as an excellent way of breaking up my day. If I am slogging through the morning — which happens far too often — the basketball class is a great remedy. By the time I exit through the gym doors at 2:15 p.m., I’m wide awake and physically stimulated … and starving, sweating and disheveled looking. It’s also a great distraction from the pressures of anything and everything of college.

In college, our minds are constantly at work, and we rarely give them a break. By taking a class in physical education, we acknowledge our bodies deserve some attention too. So what are you waiting for? Take a page out of The Northern Light and sign up for a course in physical education.

What will it be for you?

Will you start your day kicking other humans in Aerobic Kickboxing?’ Hit the hardwood on your lunch breaks in Beginning Basketball? Finally learn what proper weight training actually looks like so your musculature looks more like the drawings in your Anatomy textbook?

A student doesn’t have to be a student-athlete to be a student who is also an athlete.