Social Distancing…Phys. Ed. Style

TAHS+students+played+disk+golf+in+phys+ed+class+this+fall+as+a+competitive+and+fun+socially+distant+sport.

Tom Coleman

TAHS students played disk golf in phys ed class this fall as a competitive and fun socially distant sport.

The pandemic has affected all aspects of school life, and gym classes are no exception. Social distancing guidelines have put a squeeze on the “normal” physical education curriculum. High contact games like basketball, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee are out; outdoor activities and sports that encourage social distancing are in.

This fall, the gym teachers took advantage of the warm weather as much as possible, but walking the track or doing individual cardio activities can get boring after a while.

Enter disc golf, a social distancing friendly gym class activity.

We tucked it away for years because there were usually too many kids to play. But with the hybrid schedule and reduced classes it was easier to take the students outside and play a small game of Disc Golf”

— Phys Ed teacher Tom Coleman

The phys ed department purchased several disk golf packages a few years ago but they haven’t been used much because large class sizes make it a difficult activity to use on a regular basis. 

“We tucked it away for years because there were usually too many kids to play. But with the hybrid schedule and reduced classes it was easier to take the students outside and play a small game of Disc Golf,” said TAHS Physical Education teacher Tom Coleman.

Disc golf is like traditional golf but uses a set of frisbees instead of clubs and a golf ball. An elevated chained basket replaces the hole and the players must throw the frisbee into the basket, just like a golfer tries to get their ball into the hole.

Players get a “driver” frisbee designed for distance and several smaller frisbees designed for shorter distances and greater accuracy.

It’s become a somewhat popular game in state parks around the region. Tyrone’s “course” isn’t permanent like those, and they don’t have 18 holes, but the Phys Ed Department has set several portable holes at the track.

So far most students say that they enjoy the game.

It is a different vibe than playing dodgeball or a pickup game of basketball. The relaxing, slow-paced game makes students that don’t really like high energy games enjoy gym class.

“It is a slower game. But enjoyable to play and it’s still a competitive game,” said junior Luke Brooks.

Most students feel the same way. It gives them time to take a healthy walk, chat with friends, and no one leaves gym class sweaty.

The game has also brought people together. Since many students are split from their friend groups they get to play with students they usually wouldn’t talk to. It’s opened up more time for socializing which is much needed after months away from each other.

“Students can enjoy a nice relaxing game of disc golf while socializing with friends. Not to mention walking around the course and getting fresh air is refreshing for some students,” said Coleman.

However, with full classes back and warm days getting harder to come by, disk golf had to be packed away and the gym teachers are forced to reinvent their activities yet again, at least until we can put the pandemic behind us.