The newest intramural program hit the scene last week as Portland State students and faculty formed teams to compete in a weight loss contest based on NBC’s reality show The Biggest Loser. Make no mistake, the Campus Recreation intramurals program has been nothing short of great this year.
The biggest mistake
The newest intramural program hit the scene last week as Portland State students and faculty formed teams to compete in a weight loss contest based on NBC’s reality show The Biggest Loser.
Make no mistake, the Campus Recreation intramurals program has been nothing short of great this year. The basic programs, which include flag football and basketball among many other things, have been reorganized and revitalized. The addition of “The Biggest Loser” is, however, a black mark on Campus Rec’s redesigned docket.
This sad reality show is just another desperate concept among countless reality TV shows that are thrown at viewers. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with these lame programs and the string of self-promoting advertisements that come with them on television, but now this ridiculous contest has come to Portland State.
The reason why? Losing weight should not be some kind of competition. If slimming down because it will make you look better and be much healthier is not incentive enough, they surely will not do so just because there is some novelty competition going on.
“Besides a beautiful new body and improved health and wellness, we’ll take that (participation fee) money and hopefully we will leverage it and get some donations from some corporations or businesses who partner with us to offer prizes,” said Deborah Kirkland, the program’s coordinator.
Unless these prizes include gift certificates to the Cheesecake Factory or trips to an all-you-can-eat buffet, I do not believe it’s enough to get those in most need of a trip to the gym off their lazy asses.
Another reason this contest has no place in the intramurals program is the fact that an overwhelming majority of the competitors are PSU faculty. At the weigh-ins last week, students were few and far between. Most of the contestants were older faculty members who probably have a few pulled muscles and sore joints awaiting them in the weeks ahead. While faculty should be able to participate in Campus Rec, by all means, if there is little interest on the part of the students, what purpose does it serve?
Although I have denounced this program, I still believe that weight loss is a worthy pursuit, especially for some of the larger students at Portland State. On any campus though, there will always be a particular section of the student body that would do well to step on a treadmill once in a while.
As recently as Oct. 2005, Portland State was named the fifth fattest school in the country by an article in Men’s Fitness magazine. The results, gathered in a survey by the Princeton Review, are as valid today as they were just over a year ago.
Weight is definitely not just a problem at PSU, but an overall societal issue. But is the way to go about it through a trashy television reality show spin off? Personal desire and action will be the only way to achieve goals of weight loss. You simply cannot help those who do not want to be helped. If people want to take the initiative and work out because they want to improve themselves it is undoubtedly a positive thing. Trying to lure people into weight loss through the guise of a reality TV show, however, has no place in the school’s intramurals program.
Campus Recreation, at the outset, had no intention of picking up the contest to be included as part of the winter program. Instead, the intramurals program has been pursuing more worthy endeavors while continuing to work at improving the program’s popular leagues.
“I wasn’t going to do it, because we’re doing all this rec center stuff, so our staff is tapped out,” said Alex Accetta, Portland State’s campus recreation coordinator, referring to the proposal for a new recreation center.
While Accetta and the other members of Campus Rec’s top brass are busy with more worthy pursuits, the job of running “The Biggest Loser” in the hands of program organizers Deborah Kirkland, Mark Gregory and Jahed Sukhun. Still, the contest will technically be part of the intramurals program.
The competition began the Thursday and Friday of last week with a series of weigh-ins at the gym in the Stott Center. On hand for the weigh-ins was Ken Coleman, who lost 160 pounds as the fourth place contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Coleman, currently living in Gresham, came to offer advice and encouragement to the weight-loss hopefuls stepping off the scale at the Stott Center.
“The workouts are going to be a little different. Here, they are probably looking at doing an hour or two a day, for two or three days a week, where at the ranch we’re exercising anywhere between six and ten hours a day, seven days a week!” said Coleman.
The chance of any real substantial weight loss for these competitors is doubtful. On the reality show, contestants were pushed to work out all the time. In this PSU version, participants are in charge of their own workouts. The problem here is if you are fat, you are fat for a reason. You did not just wake up one day with a weight problem. The point is if you had no motivation to slim down before, is this silly contest really going to make that big of an impact?
To address the university’s glaring weight problem, perhaps they should adopt a more radical intramural program based on another hit reality show: Portland State Survivor. Every person that has ever come off of CBS’s Survivor has looked like someone who spent five years dieting with Paris Hilton. Why not strand a group of competitors in Parking Structure 3 for 39 days with only a sack of rice and beans, throw in a few lions or bears and you can bet you will see a noticeable difference a month later.