Why Overweight Children are Picked last for Teams in Physical Education Lessons

Physical education lessons can be somewhat of a nightmare when you’re an overweight child or teenager. First, you have to get dressed in a public changing room, so that you are extremely self-conscious of other students staring at you, thus you try to hide away in a corner putting your gym clothes on as quickly as possible, hoping that no one else will notice. You then have the actual physical education lesson itself to contend with, which can sometimes prove to be such a negative experience that you never want to do any form of exercise ever again. Usually, your group will be divided into teams, and it is always the fat kid that gets picked last.

This is because the ‘captain’, who gets to pick who gets to be on their team is usually one of those individuals who happens to be very good at sports, and thus has the privilege of being able to pick others who are also good. They start off by picking their friends, since they tend to be good at sports as well, and then work their way through the rest of the group, being left with an ever-shrinking range of people to choose from. There is a hierarchy in their mind of who is worth having on their team and who is likely to be a liability. Unfortunately, overweight children are generally perceived to belong to the latter category.

When you’re carrying more weight than is considered healthy for you; of course it going to be more of struggle to run around than your skinny peers, although having said that there are plenty of overweight individuals who are extremely fit, but who just really love their food! This has little bearing on how teams are picked, though, since the ‘captain’ wants the best; which usually means picking those who are slim.

Being picked last can be demoralising and you may end up sending out a negative vibe and give the impression that you really aren’t very good at sports as you receive no encouragement, and thus you feel as though you may as well lower people’s expectations even further so you don’t have to put the effort in. Consequently, you simply confirm what everyone believed about you in the first place, ensuring that you will continue to be picked last any time your group is divided into teams.

Most overweight children could obviously benefit from doing more exercise, but many do not have the motivation to even try to improve, since they don’t receive the support or encouragement they need, and having to be picked last every time for teams can just add to their lack of enthusiasm for physical activity.