Fatima Whitbread was not forced to enjoy Physical Education (PE), yet became a sports star. Yet she claims that children should be compelled to enjoy physical games as an inspiration to the youth of GB (Great Britain). This is a poor means o inspiring the young with basic interest in sports that they can follow outside school, at a more professional level. (Perhaps today’s young should have miserable childhoods to inspire them to perform poorly in academic terms and then, presumably, set themselves up for sports excellence?)
The problem here is the compulsion element Why the need for it when persuasion would be far more productive in enabling the young to enjoy the sports they play and, indeed, anything else? Schools cannot solve social problems like obesity since regular exercise must be self-willed to be successful.
It is better for schools to decide whether the traditional English trade-off between academic and athletic success is worthwhile and whether or not there should be a balance between the two or whether or not schools should focus more on one than the other. Traditional English snobbery means academia is preferred since British universities clearly prefer this form of study; explaining why Great Britain is usually a mediocre performer in world-class athletics. Britain is not about sporting excellence – nor even academic excellence – but about academic uniformity and conformity.
Fatima Whitbread’s argument is also absurd because it posits the notion that people succeed at one thing because they are escaping from something less pleasant. Not success based on free choice of interest, but that based on the same kind of inner compulsions and miseries experienced by serial killers and pedophiles. Compulsion is bad whether it comes from within or from without.
English-leaning politicians also make things worse by being short-termist. They allow a system to fester in which childhood obesity will become the norm; resulting in higher, future healthcare costs. But these costs will be borne after these politicians have either retired or died, so they do not care.
The fact is that Great Britain has decided that athletic achievement is essentially a lower-class endeavor and thus, not to be valorized as highly as academic achievement - as Great Britain has decided that the achievements of Whites are superior to that of Blacks or the achievement of men superior to that of women. (To fund athletic success, Whites would have to fund Blacks. They are not going to do this, so there will be little legacy from the 2012 London Olympics.) A-Levels became easier precisely because of this desire to force academia on children who would have been better-off engaging in more physical pursuits. (The National Curriculum is also a disaster in this regard since it enforces uniformity on the non-uniform; ie, children) And sports clubs are seen as a part-time, less important endeavor, not an alternative to academic schoolwork. This is the real problem here, not compulsory PE.