The above clip from my favorite movie all time, Field of Dreams, still gives me chills every time I see it. “If you build it, he will come,” is a famous quote from the 1989 classic. Watch the movie if you’re intrigued.
If You Build It, They Will Run!
I was recently reflecting on my job as a physical education teacher. Specifically I thought about what it takes to get students motivated for exercise and movement. About three years ago, my school was fortunate enough to build a beautiful track around our playground. Parents, teachers, and students flocked to the track every chance they had to walk, run, and race around the 1/7 mile oval. Building on this enthusiasm, we opened the track to students, teachers and parents before school for a morning movement program called Every Lap Counts. Three years later the program is as strong as every with hundreds of students participating.
Riding the wave of excitement we decided to start an afternoon running club called Fast and Fit. Each school year Fast and Fit has a separate fall and spring season. To date each season has averaged about 110 students.
If You Build It They Will Run!
What exactly is “it?” Initially, the track was deservedly receiving all the glory, all the credit for our highly successful movement programs. Then I began to realize that even before the track was a thought, we had a program called the Trinity Track Club each spring. Trinity Track Club, which still exists, meets three consecutive Friday’s after school. The club’s goal is to train our students for a local run called the Peachtree Junior while educating them on pace, hydration, and preparation. Again, each year we’d average about 100 runners. There was no track, but a challenging and fun team atmosphere that kids crave.
I soon realized that “it” was not just the track. “It” refers to opportunity and programming. If we, the educators and coaches, provide quality programs and opportunities for our students, then they will be drawn to participate. The same goes for our physical education programs. If we design challenging fitness opportunities and implement our curriculum with fun, dynamic drills and games then our students will be motivated. It just takes effort, creativity, and trial and error on our part. If you build it, they will run! If we provide opportunity and quality, well-thought out programs, then our students will be motivated to participate. If WE build it, they will run!
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