YOUTH MATTERS Fay Crampin...Sport can be an inspiration, not something to be dreaded

PE is a little bit like Marmite. You either can’t get enough of it, or you absolutely hate it.

Cast your mind back to PE lessons at school. What was it that made it either so exciting or so off-putting?

I have great memories of PE lessons at school. They didn’t require text books, rulers or calculators; you could switch off from academic work and run around free for a whole hour.

It was also a great excuse to embrace comfortable attire. Our school tie made you feel as though you were hooked to the end of a fishing rod and the kilts had far too many buckles attached to them.

My most cherished childhood memories are in fact away netball matches.

There was something so exciting about driving to different schools across Sussex and feeling that great unity of being part of a team.

Even the brutal chants on the bus and the modest orange slices at half time were a novelty at every match.

No-one judged you on your trainers, they were even allowed to light up back then!

By the same token, I remember some children absolutely hating PE. Maybe it was because you had to get undressed in a classroom full of boys.

Also, there was always one child who forgot to take their kit home and accidentally put their dishevelled lunch box in the same bag as their trainers. This caused the whole classroom to smell like a neglected farm!

When I started secondary school it became noticeable that fashion and music began to dictate. Sport wasn’t seen to be so valued any more.

Unfortunately my year was not particularly enthused by sport.

Trying to motivate the girls to play a game of netball in sixth form was honestly harder than persuading my brother to start ballet lessons.

This however, is not to suggest all teenagers didn’t enjoy sport since many of my friends outside school were very committed.

It seems most local schools offer only two-hour slots of PE a week, which is not enough. Sport is healthy, challenging, social and incredibly interactive.

Perhaps England holding the Olympic games in 2012 will inject more passion into children and teenagers.

With the variation of sports, schools might start to offer a wider range. For those children born in the more technical era, let’s hope the Nintendo Wii releases an Olympic-inspired game!