Growing to Love PE

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 of trying out a few new sports while staying loyal to the old ones that you’ve always been passionate about.

Hmm. That’s not quite been the case for me, someone who is pretty terrible at any and all given sport. Yet, for one reason or another, I signed up for three PE classes (Zumba, table tennis, and playground games) this semester in addition to taking five full-credit classes. Call me crazy, but I certainly don’t regret this decision. In fact, I’ve grown to be more fond of sports during this process.

Our lovely Zumba class!
Our lovely Zumba class!

Among the highlights of this semester’s 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), the invention of new playground games featuring collaboration (perhaps my favorite is an adapted version of foursquare that we called “Firepit”, where we have a food-themed glossary for each of the 9 squares – instead of the original 4), etc.

For us college students, it can be very hard to feel self-motivated to do physical exercise some time given the amount of coursework, extracurricular engagements, and part time jobs or internships in many cases. It is perhaps a cliché that one needs to take care of oneself before succeeding in other endeavors in life, but I have always prioritized other to-do items over sports despite knowing this principle. After all, studying for an exam or writing a paper and proofreading it many times before submitting it may directly translate to our transcripts. Taking the time to do an internship and learn from others in the professional realm can educate us on what we are truly passionate about career-wise, and can potentially open up more opportunities.

Sports, on the other hand, can be viewed as what we do for fun. From a practical angle, we may not see the immediate benefits that sports can bring us, but surely, in the long term, the happiness and positive energy that exercises give us can really make a difference.