I went looking for information about the Canada Fitness program today, and I couldn’t find anything. Perhaps it’s dead?
During my elementary school years, each spring we were forced to engage in a set of fitness tests — chin-ups and running figured prominently — and based on our individual results, we were awarded either a bronze, silver, gold or the “Award of Excellence.” Or, if you were like me, you received none of the above and instead were “awarded” a small plastic “participation pin.”
Although it’s hard not to laud any program that endeavoured to make us all more fit, I can’t think of any one effort in my time inside the walls of formal education that did more to turn me off physical activity.
Presumably the theory went that we down in the dregs of the participation pin ghetto were supposed to strive to better ourselves, with hopes that one day we could become bronze, silver, gold, or “excellent.”
In practice, we all thought the program silly and perhaps mean-spirited, for it seemed to rate natural abilities more than anything else. And, heck, we couldn’t do anything about that. Not quite eugenics. But not as far off as I’d like, either.