Sunday, October 25, 2009

PE Hall Of Shame: SPUD's Revenge

One of the activities that was metioned in the article to be "harmful" to physical education students is the game SPUD. The author's rules to the game are as follows: "All students gather at the center of the playing area, and one of them tosses the ball into the air while calling out the name of a classmate. All of the students run for their lives (for about 4 seconds) except the named student who must catch the ball and yell "SPUD!" The running students all freeze and the person with the ball gets to throw it at one of them. The various hits and misses generate letter penalties, and the game is played until someone or everyone gets SPUD."
The author points out many faults in this activity, one of them being students becoming targets. I honestly do not believe that children have a problem with being hit by a ball. I have enjoyed playing this game as a kid and I have led kids at an after school program who enjoyed it as well. Of course there are safety precautions that are needed to be noticed. The type of ball being used needs to be soft and harmless so that students being hit will not get hurt. Head hunting also needs to be eliminated regardless of what type of ball is being used.
The author also shoots down SPUD for lack of physical activity saying that there is only 6% running in the game for all students. I certainly do not agree with that statistic. Claiming that there is only 4 seconds every minute is a little ridiculous as it does not take a minute to throw the ball back up again. Additional running can be done after the thrower has thrown the ball and everyone runs back to the center for another toss up. The letter strikes gained after being hit can be taken out so that the game is focused on physical activity, rather than winning. This way everyone continues to participate and have fun during the entire game. Other rules that can be added include having the thrower take 4-5 steps toward a person for an easier chance of hitting them, as well as the targeted person being able to dodge the ball without leaving their feet. The physical educator always has the option to make a game more appropriate for class. Saying a certain kind of game should not be allowed is futile as it can be adjusted for everyone's enjoyment and benefit.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot say that I am all too familiar with the game of SPUD. Either I've never experienced it or I do not recall it fully from the olden days

    However, from your description, it seems like a likely candidate for retirement from physical education class. Using children as targets in physical education is never a good idea. It can single out the less skilled and less developed children and could potentially lead to injury. For this same reason dodgeball is banned from many curricula. A lack of physical activity is another big problem. We want all children to be active and not just a select few or for just a short while. If any modifications could be added that would help improve the game.

    As we go out into the schools and become teachers, we will realize what games can and cannot be used in physical education class. It is up to our discretion and that of our peers to decide this.