If you're over 25, and were born in Canada, I'm betting you can sing along to this:
In the 1970s and 1980s, Canadian students were pushed through a needle-eye called the Canada Fitness Test. The test consisted of pushups, situps, a paused pullup ("flexed-arm hang") some sprints, a shuttle run, and a longer run. Students were awarded Levels, based on their achievement in each event: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or the coveted "Award of Excellence."
The standards were a bit odd. For instance, consider the times necessary to achieve an "Award of Excellence" in the 1-mile (1600m) Run. As a twelve-year-old, you'd have to run the mile in 7:41. As a 13-year-old? 11:31. That's almost an extra 4 minutes, or 50% longer!
Here are the original standards (labeled as 'Air Cadets Fitness Testing', but the same as the original ParticipACTION tests.)
Why is it gone? Well, like all tests, it was meant to be a tool for guiding teachers toward the pursuit of their students' weakest points of understanding. Unfortunately, many teachers embraced the 'test' concept without using the resulting data to change the direction of their instruction. No one in Grade Five can do more than 9 pushups? Well, back to our regularly-scheduled floor hockey game…..
Also, the tests seemed very divisive. The stigma attached to a Bronze continues to haunt many (as evidenced on various discussion boards,) and these days, it's not kosher to promote anything other than sameness. In our lockstep march to mediocrity, the pace is driven by our desire to ignore individual strengths and weaknesses. Failure must be avoided at all costs, right? Kids will only be successful if they never experience losing…….right??? Instead of being great at some things and bad at others, it's better if we're all just kinda average at everything, maybe.
Caught in some eternal flexed arm hang/
Dropping to the mat in a fit of laughter” - Fireworks
Many 30somethings will remember their scores on these tests (mine were all Silvers and Bronzes, I'm sure.) I was probably reading a book while trying to do pushups. The point: can you match – or better your scores today? On Thursday, you'll get a chance to find out!
Bring your shorty-shorts. If you can fit into your Amazing Spider-Man, E.T., or Michael Jackson "Bad" t-shirt, wear it. Pigtails optional. Let's revisit our youth.
Coach's prediction: CrossFitters will kill this test.