A Letter to My Friend,
Phil Lawler, you would be proud. I spent the weekend at our PSAHPERD Convention. Phil always looked at conventions as an opportunity to network. If you ever spent time with Phil at a convention you would know that it always took plenty of time to get from one end of the vendor hall to the other due to his networking with everyone.
During my time at our state convention I was so impressed with the passion shown not only by university students, but also by the veteran teachers that were in attendance. I chatted with many physical educators who thanked me for the work we had done in Titusville and for our willingness to share with others the means by which we developed our PE program. This never would have happened without Phil's influence.
Phil taught me the importance of developing a fitness based PE program. I took the ideas he shared with me to our schools in Titusville. During the initial integration of Phil's ideas we were met with much push back from many areas. As I began to attempt to spread Phil's "gospel" I heard things like..."Naperville doesn't teach sport skills. Naperville doesn't assess sport skills. Naperville's program is nothing but bells and whistles." It wasn't long before I began to hear the same things about the Titusville PE program. I heard the naysayers locally, statewide and at the national level.
Things have changed. Physical educators everywhere are following your lead, Phil. They are incorporating fitness, using small sided games and becoming advocates for their programs. Exergaming is now an accepted part of physical education. The brain science you espoused (thanks to Dr. Ratey) is being shared with administrators throughout our country. Physical education is being taken outside the walls of the gymnasium and integrated into academic subject areas and the concepts of those subject areas are being brought into the gymnasium. Brain breaks are becoming a common occurrence.
There are programs throughout the country who are following your lead and now taking the lead in physical education. You should see the work that your friend Paul Z. is doing in his retirement. You should see the program George V. has developed in California. You should see the work Dr. Ratey is doing to promote the brain science of PE throughout the world. You should see the Action Based Learning Lab Jean B. has developed. You should see the people who are still coming to Titusville for PE4life Academy Center training.
We still have much work to do, Phil. There are plenty of Mr. Woodcock's still rolling out the ball in our PE classes. Childhood obesity is still on the rise. Our federal and state governments are extolling the virtues of increased testing in our schools which is leading many administrators to drop physical education and the arts from school curriculums.
You were a visionary Phil. Your dream of quality physical education is coming true, one school, one program at a time. Things are getting better. You would be proud.
P.S. Tim has just been awarded the 2012 Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD). Read all about it and then join us in congratulating him!