CONTACT SPORTS: Schools should teach ‘sweet science’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 2, 2002


Like most high school students, I was required to take a Physical Education course each year in order to graduate.

I looked at it as an easy “A” or “B” on my report card. We all were required to play basketball, softball, even run a mile, which at the time was difficult for me.

But a sport I believe should be taught in P.E. classes is currently one that no school teaches: boxing.

Let me make it perfectly clear that in no way I am wanting students to physically hurt one another. I am just saying boxing is a sport that can do several things for a person other sports cannot.

First of all, it is one of the sports that both boys and girls can excel. I have been following boxing for several years now and am amazed at how many women are currently participating.

I went to several New Orleans’ area boxing gyms last summer and found women working out in droves. When I asked why they take boxing lessons, several of them responded by saying, “It’s a great way to get exercise without fighting the sun,” or “I mainly use it for self defense.”

These are two excellent reasons why people take up boxing. Maybe local schools could hire an adult instructor to teach kids how to box. More importantly, how to keep self-esteem and self-confidence up, as well as their gloves.

An owner of a boxing gym in New Orleans once told me most of his members are not and do not intend to become professional fighters.

There are two types of boxing equipment used for a variety of reasons. The first one is the heavy bag. I can’t think of a better way to let out frustration while exercising at the same time.

It helps a person clear their mind of any problems. Secondly, a speed bag brings confidence and discipline all at once. It gives you confidence that you can maintain a quicker pace as you improve.

Discipline because you must be disciplined and focused on the bag at all times. In no way am I saying the sports currently offered do not build important characteristics. I am saying it might not be a bad idea to look into having boxing as part of the P.E program in order to help a person achieve important characteristics he or she may need in the future.

GEORGE MAHL is a sportswriter for L’Observateur.