January 16, 2008

Gym Class Memories: Happy or Heinous?

[By Crabby]

According to a recent A.P. article, P.E. classes have changed since the old days. That is, in the schools that even have physical education anymore.

Now there's less emphasis on team sports and more on doing exercises and other individual activities.

More attention is being paid to limitations of overweight or obese kids, which is another reason, the article says, why individual activities are preferred. This way the heavier kids can go at their own pace. And "even if the lesson is about a team sport like football, they focus on skills like passing the ball."

You can kind of tell from the tone of the article that we're supposed to think this is all a great thing--and I'm not saying it isn't, exactly. But the lead paragraph starts off like this:

"With music pumping in the background, the kids in Terry Wade's physical education class are in constant motion, going from sit-ups to jumping jacks to curls with light weights"--and the picture is of two wildly happy looking adolescent girls jumping up in the air.

Well, at twelve I would NOT have been wildly happy about that sort of P.E. class.

Back when P.E. was just another word for "recess" to me, occasional drills and calisthenics and walking/jogging around the track seemed like cruel and inexplicable punishments. Why were we stuck doing boring hard icky things when we could be playing something?

I loved playing. Pretty much anything: soccer and basketball and softball and tennis and volleyball and dodgeball and kickball. Even if my lungs were burning and my legs were aching, I'd be having a blast.

But I was lucky. I was a reasonably well-coordinated tomboy. This was back in an era when girls were not allowed to play full-court basketball until high school, and we weren't supposed to know to know how to swing a bat or even which end of a tennis racket to hold. We were all supposed to throw "like girls." In other words, expectations were really freakin' low. So even though I had no special athletic talent, I was considered "good" at sports. Playing them was fun 'cause I was better than a good percentage of the other girls. (I am pretty much incapable of finding things "fun" when I suck at them.)

In fact, once I went off to college, and sports were no longer mandatory so everyone who hated them or was lousy at them didn't play anymore, I found out I wasn't actually all that good at anything. Not coincidentally, sports became a lot less interesting to me and I haven't played any for years.

So for all the people who weren't motivated or coordinated or were self-conscious about their bodies or whatever: I can totally understand why the total elimination of team sports in gym class might seem like a phenomenally awesome idea. (And if you want an off-color but amusing take on why high school gym class sucks, as usual our friends at the Midwest Teen Sex Show are all over it. Warning: NSFW.)

Still, reading the article I had mixed feelings. Sure, P.E. classes should be as inclusive as possible. And there should be a variety of activities so that at any given time, only half of the kids are totally miserable, and not always the same half every day.

But isn't something missing if the kids can't play any team sports during P.E.? Should we not teach algebra because it's going to make some kids feel bad that they're no good at it?

Sure, competition can be ugly sometimes, and I think the whole "character building" aspect of sports is grossly overrated. (A rant for another time). But dang it, I hate to think of a whole generation of kids having to take aerobics classes and do sit-ups everyday and coming to dread them at 13 when they could save that dread for later, when they're 30 or 50 0r whatever. Can't they spend some days at least trying to kick a goal or catch a fly ball or hit a home run? 'Cause that stuff can be, you know, hella fun. Sit ups are never hella fun; I don't care WHAT kind of music is pumping.

So this whole post is really just an excuse to hear about your gym class experiences. Any fond memories or horrible nightmares? It's my impression that the mere word "gym class" can induce in many people the sort of visceral reaction normally associated with "tax audit" or "colonoscopy." Or how do you feel about team sports? Play any voluntarily these days? Feel free to share!

We're getting some strong feelings and amazing stories in the comments section--honestly, I had no idea gym class was so awful for so many people. If you don't normally pop in to read comments, today is a good day to check it out!


  1. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it.
    I would have loved some solitary exercise. Not only am I unco-ordinated, I despise teamwork and always have.

    Being picked last or near-last for teams did not help my inborn views of the utter uselessness of team sports and the offensiveness of competitive exercise.

    Great post, Crabby. Got my juices flowing.

  2. I'm one of the kids who was excluded in team sports for the most part growing up because of my size...

    I was the token girl, big and slow at that, on all boys baseball teams and taught to stand in the box and get intentionally walked instead of work on developing my skills. thankfully, when guys play in on me now in rec softball, I can hit a ball over their heads and into the outfield. I proudly kiss my "guns" as I stand on second or third.

    I don't have track and field participant ribbons, I can remember dreading putting on shorts in the girls change room and the "gym" teacher at my elementary school still works there (with my mother) and is still a douche, picking on the kids who could use a hand at being healthy and running the healthy kids into the ground with cross country training.

    but the tables have turned. my first race last season was a 5k in the neighbourhood i grew up in. I was only six minutes behind the jerk.

    life is good now.

  3. Hated gym class, dreaded it. I was (still am) a shy, introverted type. I'm not really competitive, so team sports were just terrifying. Thinking about it now I still feel the horror of being on the basketball court and not knowing what to do, or seeing a volley ball flying at my face...Oh, the horror! That being said, I can't say I enjoyed running laps either. For years I was convinced there was no way that exercise could be fun and I don't think that is a good lesson to learn from gym class.

    The few positive experiences I remember were: a class focussed on gymnastics where the teacher actually pointed out my perfect form doing a reverse plank (not that I am in any way a gymnast), a hike through the woods, an aerobics class. Those were the rare occasions where gym class was not torture. Like 3 classes out of my entire phys-ed experience.

    I did eventually learn that I enjoy exercise; I like walking, cardio classes, lifting weights, yoga & pilates. I even like a little running now and then. I still have no interest in team sports.

    Ideally, it would be great if kids could be exposed to a variety of activities and be able to choose what to participate in. I'm sure that would be difficult for schools to manage in a class setting (as opposed to extra-curricular), but if it were possible maybe less people would grow up thinking that exercise=torture.

  4. I have awful memories of PE - I was bigger and (unknowingly) suffering from hypothyroidism which, combined with a total lack of athletic ability, made me a social pariah in gym class. I remember running "The Mile" for the Presidential Fitness Test (actually, "running" should be in quotes, as I walked most of it). I think I finished it in 15minutes. Blech. I workout all the time now, tho!

    Great post, Crabby!

  5. Crabby, do not get me started.

    Fifty years ago when I was in grammar school, only the boys had gym. While they were out doing whatever they did for gym activities, the girls sat in the classroom and read. Remember these were the days when girls' bicycles had cross bars that dipped to accomodate dresses and skirts, at the cost of stability.

    In the early sixties, I went to an all girl high school and we had gym class. We wore those horrid gym uniforms with skirts and bloomers. Still, we had fun.

    All girl schools are very liberating! Since we couldn't focus on the cute guy in the third seat in the next row, we focused on ourselves! Yay for us!


  6. I hated team sports and was never so glad as to get to high school where being in marching band got me out of PE.

    I wasn't a natural at any of the skills needed for team sports other than sprinting and dodging, and coaches never bothered trying to develop anyone's skill at throwing, batting, catching or anything that might've made us better at a team sport or would've helped us enjoy it. It was sink or swim.

    In adulthood I've learned that with proper instruction and opportunity to practice, almost anyone can become competent at athletic skills. But the support just wasn't there at my elementary and middle schools, and if you didn't already know how to hit a ball or catch, you were screwed. Picked last, yelled at, mocked...

    Oh, how I would've kissed the feet of a coach who let us do individual sports! I ran, roller skated, rode my bike and did ballet and jazz dance in my after-school time, so I would've been GOOD at PE if it hadn't all been about team sports. Instead, I was looked down upon and always picked last for teams.

    I won't even watch a team sport on TV, that's how much I continue to despise them to this day!

    PE can ruin a kid for life! They should try to work with a kid's natural talents and inclinations if they're not going to really teach anything.

  7. I was the fat girl in gym class in elementary school, so I hated it! Getting picked last, running out of breath and moving slow and getting laughed at for it. It wasn't fun at all.

    But, that doesn't mean it wasn't good for me. Social interaction is important for children at all levels. You can't shelter a child from their peers for their young life and expect them to be able to function in society as adults.

    All of this social crap that everyone is trying so hard to eliminate from schools (aside from guns, weapons, etc) is in my opinion normal and necessary. We lived through it! It prepared me for the real world.

  8. Wow, these stories are great for me to hear. It actually kind of changes my perspective a bit... I don't think I got how truly awful the whole team sport experience could be for people.

    I was lucky not only because I was reasonably athletic, but because we had pretty fun and supportive gym teachers who encouraged rather than berated. But then, I wasn't the person picked last--they could have been in the same "fun" class I remember and hated every second of it.

  9. I wasn't overweight or physically incapable of doing sports but I was not popular, so I was always one of the last kids picked for a team. If a teacher assigned me to a team, they would audibly groan.

    I also couldn't run fast - never could and it wasn't becaue I was out of shape, I just could not - and still can't - run fast. So, track and field with the running and stuff was awful. :-(

  10. My kids come home with tales of teams winning and losing and coming in second and trying and ... all the stuff that seems to be disappearing.

    Another kudo for our school, I guess.

  11. The Bag Lady finds it really surprising to hear some of these comments. She thought that out of all these "fitness folk" (notice she didn't call y'all freaks...), her story of being picked last and not being wanted on any of the teams would be a lonely cry in the forest of "hurray for team sports"!
    The Bag Lady despised most P.E. classes, except for the gymnastic equipment, track & field, and badminton. She, much like Bunnygirl, got a lot of her exercise outside of school - riding bikes, ballet and jazz, highland dancing, etc. (and was the skinniest kid in school...ah, those were the days)
    She sucked big time at team sports and always felt that the "in" girls were aiming that f*cking volleyball at her face deliberately. She's lucky they never broke her nose... and it was not for lack of trying.

    That said, she doesn't agree with this new approach, either. The kids need SOME team sports experience, even if it is miserable like hers was. And there are lots of activities that the children could do that don't involve sit-ups, which are horrible. Anything that gets them moving. Kids are designed to move. Kids NEED to move. It's hard-wired into them.

  12. I think I'm similar to you Crabby. I've always been athletic. Gym glass when I was younger was fun for me. kickball, freeze tag, soccer. I've always played sports just because I've really enjoyed it. And in high school, when a lot of girls have issues with their bodies, I was totally fine. I attribute a lot of that to working out everyday (but it didn't necessarily always FEEL like working out) with a team and (i know it sounds cheesy) having a great time competing.

    It seems like a lot of what keep people from working out when they're trying to lose weight as adults is some fear or anxiety leftover from those horrid P.E. classes. But since they see themselves as "unathletic" they start off with zero confidence exercising. Which is unfortunate, because most people can walk (which really goes a long way!)

    It actually wasn't until after I had kids that my weight ever became an issue for me. And yes, I am really glad that I spent the first 20some years of my life knowing that fitness and health and working out really can be enjoyable.

    I think having lots of different choices is really important. For one person it may be team sports, for another, it may very well be crunches and aerobics. THere are so many options out there that I think it's good to give all kids a chance to find something they like, that maybe even helps them feel good about themselves. It REALLY helped me.

  13. My gym classes were great! Starting in middle school, we always had a choice of which "unit" we wanted to do. Basically, there would be four classes all assigned gym at the same time, and four coaches. Each of the coaches would announce what "unit" they were doing for the next 6 weeks (or whatever - it varied, but I think they were usually about that long), and you got to go to that one. My favorites were gymnastics, Project Adventure (basically indoor rock climbing), various dance forms, etc. Wasn't so much a fan of the more traditional sports (basketball, soccer, track and field, etc), but I did them on occasion. It was great because there wasn't always an activity you loved, but you knew that in a few weeks you'd get new choices.

  14. katieo - you are bang on. The first time I heard someone refer to me as being athletic I was shocked. Shocked! Me?

    I was not overweight as a kid. I loved cross-country skiing in the winter. In the summer we camped, and hiked and swam. But I was never athletic, oh no. I was a bookworm, thank-you very much.

    When I became an adult and found other activities that I enjoyed doing, I still did not consider myself to be athletic. I always thought I was a wimp. And I think that is the problem with the old model of gym class - it was very much focused on team sports and competing, and if you weren't good at that, then that was it; there was nowhere else to go from there.

  15. I'm another person who would have literally jumped for joy and screamed "thank you! thank you!! Oh my god thank you!!!" if the gym teacher had allowed me to exercise by myself instead of all competitive sports all the goddamn time. I suck at ALL team sports. And the one thing I learned, if I never learned anything else from that experience, is that a ten-minute volleyball game in seventh grade gym class is A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH AND MAKING YOUR TEAM LOSE WILL SURELY BRING ABOUT THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD.

    I was yelled and screamed at. Constantly. I cried. A lot. For years. And years. Now that I don't have to, I refuse to play any sport ever again. Why the fuck would I voluntarily sign up to be abused?

    It was a small blessing that at least my gym teachers were sympathetic and didn't dock my grades for sucking. Because at least I came in every day and, even though I knew I was going to spend the next half hour being yelled at by my classmates every time I made the tiniest little mistake (which was constantly, because nobody ever even bothered to try to teach technique or strategy to the kid who sucks, you're just supposed to ALREADY KNOW all the rules for every sport and automatically be good at everything), I at least tried. One time in elementary school, the teacher scolded the whole class for making me cry. In high school one student got told off for the same thing.

    In Jr. High we once did track and field type stuff for a few days. Turns out that without any teammates to piss off or flying projectiles to deal with or having to constantly try to decide what course of action will not get me yelled at (and usually being wrong), I actually can summon up some sort of athletic ability. That was the one and only time I was ever allowed to be somewhat good at anything vaguely resembling sports. Of course it couldn't be allowed to last for any significant period of time, because we had to get back to the team sports. TEAM SPORTS ARE THE ONLY IMPORTANT KIND OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY! TEAM SPORTS UBER ALLES!

    And no, not one single aspect of this experience "built my character" in any way or imparted any "social skills" on me. The treatment I got at the hands of my classmates, for 13 of my formative years (outside of gym I was shunned and mocked and had vicious rumors spread about me, kids used to actually get together and make fun of all my "weird" traits, no joke) is the reason I'm such a social incompetent as an adult. Anyone who thinks bullying is in any way "good" for anyone deserves to be taken out back and beaten and shot. And then beaten again. And then doused in gasoline and set on fire.

  16. To clarify a little - when the Bag Lady said the kids need some team sports, she meant the kids that are good at it. The others shouldn't be forced to participate in the team sports, but more attention needs to be focused on encouraging kids to do something physical THAT THEY ENJOY, thereby taking that mind-set into adulthood.
    Chickengirl, are we related...? Sounds like we went through the exact experiences!

  17. Oh. My. God. All these years later, and just reading this and remembering made me feel sick. Anything PE related was a horrible experience for me as a kid, and not just because of other kids and being picked last, but because I also had teachers belittling me. Feeling like I had to develop these skills and participate in activities that I just didn't have the ability for, in order to fit in, contributed to self esteem problems more than being a little chubby ever did. I do think that how the teacher handles it can make a world of difference, but think about it - most folks that are teaching PE in the first place are going to be athletically inclined themselves, and probably not able to relate well or empathize with kids that aren't. I also think it's a different experience than, say, being a kid who doesn't do well in math because your humiliation is so much more PUBLIC, and not only easily ridiculed but often allowed by the teacher. Ideally, it would be nice if kids could choose from a variety of activities, some playing games and some doing individual exercise if that appeals to them. I know that class sizes and structure don't easily lend themselves to this, but if the idea behind PE is to instill good habits that the kid can carry through life, the best chance for success would be to teach them how to work with what they have, and find physical activities they enjoy doing.

  18. I looooved PE! I think it helped that I went to an all-girls elementary school, so by the time we got to co-ed PE in high school, I thought I was hot shit at PE and sports already.

    Although, in high school, I dreaded the "beep" test. I actually threw up because of it, once. Even though I was *fit* in elementary and high school, the beep just killed me.

  19. It's weird, I was just thinking about this yesterday. Because my kids are young, they have recess and A LOT of physical activity at school. They are in special ed, with other kids who have Autism, and the physical activity helps them focus on the academic work. And I think the same holds true for everyone; if you sit all day, your brain gets tired!
    My PE experience was 50/50. I was very shy, and not too good at team sports except for kickball and soccer. I tried pretty much everything (and my mother forced tennis lessons on me for years, which I DESPISED!!!). I also took dance, drama and chorus.
    In elementary school we got to do obstacle courses, which were great! Then, in high school, we had a teacher who would change it up every few weeks, and would really focus on teaching us skills, so that was rare and wonderful. I even discovered that, while distance running wasn't my thing, I was a really good sprinter! ME!
    This same teacher showed us a film on AIDS prevention. This was in the 80's, and she had to show the film in the girls' locker room, in secret, and asked us that we not tell anyone she showed us the film, because she could be fired.
    I agree that PE should be about encouraging kids to be active, and to find things they enjoy. We really need to realize that everyone learns in different ways, and everyone had different stregnths. And PE teachers and coaches should be certified the same way other teachers are (I don't know if they are or not).

  20. Just reading through the comments has reminded me of those feelings of dread.

    Being called last seems to be a common experience for those of us who were less coordinated, under/overweight, shy and unpopular.

    Kids (and occasionally adults) can be very cruel. It does damage. Almost every post above had me saying "yep".

    I can still feel the deep-rooted discomfort at the thought of joining an exercise class. I've done it, but I much prefer to pop in a tape/DVD at home, take a walk or ride a bike.

  21. While I wasn't a bigger kid, and wasn't any more uncoordinated than the rest of my classmates, I HATED team sports. Mostly because I'm shy, and we had to play with the guys, and it was just a recipe for embarrassing disaster. I would have cheered had we had some solitary exercise. Honestly, give kids a choice and you'll probably get some of each type of person (the solitary and the team sports lovers). If PE is supposed to teach fitness and prepare a child for an active life, it would be better to play to their strengths, so that they can look at exercise as something they like, rather than something to be dreaded and avoided at all costs.

  22. I know my opinion is very biased and I didn't have any bad experiences b/c I was always picked first for any sport b/c I just happened to be good at all sports (except badminton - oh god badminton - nightmares!).

    Anyways, team sports are a great and easy way to teach kids how to be a team player - individual don't do that. Plus it shows that exercise can be fun. Crunches although great exercise are not fun.

    I liked how my gym teachers handled us athletes and the nonathletes. 30% of all our marks were attitude so that meant the athletes should be helpful and understanding of the nonathletes and the nonathletes just had to try their hardest. It seemed to work. The spirit in our classes were always fun.

    Being part of a competitive team taught me so much and so much of who I am today is b/c of that. So I wouldn't want others to not even get a chance to see what team sports are all about.

  23. I Really need to comment on this, but I have developed a bad case of the shakes from thinking about gym. I will try to get back after the shaking has stopped.

  24. (now that I'm calmed down a little... writing that last comment got me "a bit" upset...)

    Ironically, the part of the whole "team sports" thing that I hate so much isn't the competition per se, I enjoy a good competition as long as it's something I at least have some sort of viable skill in, although I do hate going down in flames by myself almost as much as getting the wrath of an entire losing team.

    But if it's "everyone for hirself" and I'm at least better than a few people, heck yeah, I'm all over that!

    But that's the sort of experience I was never allowed to have in gym class, because gym isn't about having fun or even being active. It's about giving the sporty kids 45 minutes to pat each other on the back and abuse the kids whose talents don't lie in this area. One might be tempted to say "well, at least you were being active, right?" No, I wasn't. Standing around fighting back tears and wishing you could just crumble into the floor and die really isn't a very good workout.

    In that respect, the death of PE as we used to know it is probably a good thing. Now all the kids are free to choose an activity that they like and are good at on their own time instead of the sporty kids and the non-sporty kids being forced to play together for no one's benefit. (It certainly got through to me loud and clear that the kids who were good at whatever sport we were playing despised being stuck with me. If only some of them could have pulled their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that I hated it every bit as much as they did.)

  25. I agree 100% with Marie's comments. I discovered fitness (as in enjoyable, life-enhancing fitness) as an adult, and it pisses me off to think that all that PE horror almost kept me from living the healthy life that we all deserve.

  26. I cannot really emember my elementary PE experience, but I don't have fear from it. I can remember being excited on gym day, but it could have been because I was an active and sporty kid (I danced from grade 1 through 8, played softball at the same time and eventually stuck with volleyball through high school and today) and I enjoyed showing off to the boys on rope climb day and being the most flexible girl during the President's Challenge.

    But in all respects, I am NOT a runner, never have been, never will be. I have exercise induced asthma and I was embarassed about it for a long time. Until I was able to get a handle on it.

    In middle school, the teachers and structure was fantastic. We were given a list of the activities offered for the term and we had to choose 3. All of our teachers were also the coaches, so they knew how to properly teach to the non-athletes the skills they needed to be successful. At this age, I was also coming into my own skills as a volleyball player and realizing that I loved the team aspect.

    Then came high school...What a difference one year and a huge new school can make. I HATED gym in HS. It wasn't the same as the other posts I've read though, I could have cared less about being picked last or being bad at a sport, I just HATED being sweaty in the middle of my day and having to put school clothes back on after PE. With playing so much volleyball, I knew what were work out clothes and what were day wear clothes and I hated mixing the two without a shower, and I wasn't about to shower in the nasty showers we had in HS and getting ready in 5 minutes. Also, while I was very active, I have always been the biggest kid in my class, and HS was definitely the time when I was realizing it may not be so savvy to be heavy.

    Having the oportunity to play ball in college was fantastic for me, because I could focus on what I wanted to do, as well as able to take other PE courses (if I wanted to) in things that I had been interested in but not ventured into. Recently getting back into the gym has also helped me to enhance my adult ball play by putting power into muscles and skills that could have helped me a lot more when I played competitively. I also coach volleyball, so I think that my experiences and things I've learned over the years help me relate and understand where my girls are coming from on the court.

    Overall, I guess my experience wasn't as bad as most, but I had my moments of hate and love.

  27. clearly opinions run across the board, but the majority of us hated gym class-whether athletic or not. (sara being the aberration). Especially in highschool, even if you are "picked first", you are probably already focusing on an extracurricular sport, and are bored by the low intensity of gym class. I played 3 varsity sports and think competition is VERY important to kids, but I also hated gym. Individual programs can be very beneficial to teaching lifelong fitness skills. Some schools are pursuing yoga, gymnastics, pilates, ect, however not enough are. If you quickly browse all these comments, you'll see the majority of people hated gym, which means our kids probably still hate it today.

    Extracurriculars are a great way to pick of the slack of public schools . If you live in NYC you might want to check out the New York Kids Club which has tons of programs which promote child health (ages 6 months to 12 yrs.)-classes like rock climbing, gymnastics, dance, and martial arts, as well as cooking classes which promote healthy habits. The New York Kids Club is also inviting all NYC bloggers to a Free Friday on Jan. 18 to check out the facilities, meet the staff, and enjoy free food and drinks. I tell you what-its better than PE. Check out the invitation Here

  28. In grammar school I was great, played "pickle" (run down) every morning with the guys at the bus stop, played softball, swung and spun on the bars, walked or ran all over, rode my bike down steep dirt hills and for miles around town or down dirt roads after school, rode a skateboard, etc. I was always a physically adept and sports talented tomboy, but I was also a geek, so always got picked last for any team sport in any school, and was mocked and laughed at by the nasty girly cheerleaders and clique chicks from 7th grade on, so ended up despising team sports! AND cheerleader types! I STILL hate them! (What's the phrase? "With the blazing fury of a thousand white hot suns!"?) And because of them I don't care to work out in a gym either now.

    Middle school was just the worst overall experience of my life, I understand how school shooters are made from such BS. I was a new kid and I was appalled at the behavior of so many of the kids around me, I'd never encountered so much innate meanness in my life, then or since! I honestly still hate those people. If I could find them now I'd happily slap them silly! Same with the boys who bullied me who had the manners of chimps, except I would hurt them worse. Give me just 60 seconds with a big aluminum baseball bat... AND I don't believe in violence solving *anything*, so that's a clue how deep the pain goes. I always despised gym and changing and forced showering in front of others who laughed and mocked me almost every day. It was a fucking gauntlet! Do I think that's a loss to today's kids? Nope. In my sophomore year in high school we got the option of running 3 miles a week, so I did that instead. That I could deal with.

    So it wasn't "gym" that formed my physicality, it was my own efforts and desires always. In jr high and high school I rode my horse bareback, backwards, over fences. I rode my stingray off of jumps and up and down curbs and stairs and ramps. In high school I rode my bike everywhere, I jogged with my dog, I did wheelies on my 10 speed road bike! I rode my skateboard. I did my physical activity outside of school, and resented it being forced on me inside school. I disliked school so much I graduated a semester early and never went back for graduation. Fuck that school and all the little shits in it. I hope the mean ones grew up ugly, poor and FAT!

    As an adult I did weightlifting for years, rode and trained horses, swam. I'm getting back into weights again now. I also rode rollers on my old hardtail mountain bike for 3 years, until a move to cramped quarters 3 years ago necessitated selling them (you balance the bike on top of 3 spinning aluminum rollers, and ride it without falling off...)
    Now I ride up and downhill (fast!) mountain bikes on singletrack, and walk/jog the dog, and do urban guerilla riding with my hubby. No more skateboards, sigh.

    So I got over it (mostly) but I never forgot it, and I don't think it was at all psychologically beneficial!
    Can you tell?

  29. I would like to second everything ChickenGirl said. The abuse, the crying, getting picked last and being expected to magically KNOW the rules of all the games without being told. I got so stressed that I started throwing up before PE every day.

    The only thing that was different for me was that I finally started pleading sick EVERY SINGLE DAY at PE time, and they had to let me go sit in the nurse's office. It wasn't a lie: I was barfing in the bathroom beforehand, so I was legitimately sick, but it was stress, not illness. Some days I went back to classes after PE was over, but some days I was so stressed and sick that they had to call my mom to come get me.

    When the first progress report came back with an Unsatisfactory (i.e., "in danger of flunking on the real report card") my mom went in and argued that a kid who was taking 6-8 hours of dance class every week as an extra curricular activity was NOT out of shape, and she'd like to see the school explain their decision to the school board.

    I finally got permission to sit out P.E. I love my mom.

  30. I dreaded the team sports. I remember being hit with a baseball in elementary school and the teacher told me to suck it up & get over to first base. Well obviously not in those words, but dammit it hurt! Being picked last was not a problem, there was one girl that was always picked after me - second last is just as bad.

    I loved the gymnastics though and was even pretty good at the uneven parallel bars. That followed through to Jr. High, but in high school they dropped gymnastics in favour of more team sports. I liked basketball, however, I sucked at it in a team setting. Going one on one, I rocked!

  31. TK, I totally hear you on the "blazing fury of a thousand white hot suns". How about I hold them down for you while you beat them, and then we can switch?

  32. I had terrible experiences throughout junior high and high school. I wasn't the fat one or the unpopular one, just not-so-able to catch the ball (or throw it, or run fast etc). I got picked last, left out, or made fun of. I was an Honour roll student every term, but PE was always my lowest grade even with perfect attendance. So I gave up, I quit trying. I wore track pants to keep warm because I no longer cared to run, because when I did I was belittled, or yelled at by athletic classmates and the teacher. Then, by some miracle, in 10th grade i got mononucleosis. Now, anyone who has had mono (the 'kissing disease') can tell you its terrible. I was very, very ill. But, I got out of a whole semster of PE, about 5 months. I was so happy I didn't care how ill i was. No more stress of deciding what to do if you 'got the ball' in PE. You know, peple like me aren't always out of position because we don't know where to stand. We just know that if you're in position, you are more likely to get the ball, and that can be terrifying. In 1th and 12th grade PE was optional, so I opted OUT.

    Now, as an adult, I greatly enjoy triathlons and running races. I hike, snowboard and wakeboard skillfully without shame or humiliation. If my PE classes had given us individual options, I would have jumped for joy. The scars of PE can run deep, as all these comments attest. Like mj, I love my mom for her support. She wrote 'sick' notes for me whenever I needed.

  33. All these comments brought back many memories for me. I liked some units in gym, others not so much. When I was in high school, in the middle fifties, we played girls basketball. Girls were much too fragile to cover the whole court. So half the team played offense; the other half played defense and noone crossed the line at center court.

    I also had a young PE teacher my senior year who was right out of college. Near the end of the year, she showed us an "army training film" on sex ed, saying that she might get fired for doing it, but not all of us were going on to college and this might be the only education we would get on sex, etc. Miss Brown, whereever you are, bless you.

  34. Here's a email I had sent my brother a few months ago. It's on-topic!
    I saw that they named the football stadium after Murney Lazier. I don't know if you had him as a gym teacher, but I did! Can we say 'MEAN'? Mr. Rodgers neighborhood, it was not, lol. He is the reason I made up the saying, "I never planned anything for after gym class because I never knew if I would SURVIVE gym class! My most vivid memory is when one class he had half the class line up on each side of the field. Then he put a soccer ball in the center. He would call out names and you had to run to the ball and kick it before the guy coming from the other way could do it. One time the first guy there didn't kick the ball, but rather ducked his head, catching the guy coming from the other way in the stomach, then flipping him over his head in a full somersault! That was the only time I EVER saw Coach Lazier smile!
    I survived gym and I've got the t-shirt to prove it!
    Dr. J

  35. Practiceliving - what is the beep test?

  36. reb - I had exactly the same experiences growing up, picked second-to-last, excelling at gymnastics (loved bars and floor equally well). Played basketball (and sucked)in high school. I was freakishly good at 3-pointers, but was freaked out by the whole confrontation-thing of an actual game.

    Even though I sucked at anything with a ball (except soccer), I always earned a President's Physical Fitness Award - the fitness drills were always my favorite part of the school year.

    One of the main reasons that I HATED (and still do) the sports-based model of gym class is that people barely move. Softball, kickball, volleyball, even dodgeball - we all spent the entire period standing around (not great for what I suspect was a raging case of undiagnosed ADD). Gym class could definitely include sports, but how does a kid become a good batter with one or two shots at the ball? We had a couple of kids - "GYM CLASS HEROES" who really had a good time doing what they did best - for the rest of us it was really a waste of time. Just as in real sports, some time could be spent on conditioning and teaching the fundamentals - then maybe the "good athletes" would enjoy a better game.


  37. I'm another person who hated team sports. I had a lot of health issues growing up, so never learned the same skills the other kids did and never had enough confidence to really pull my weight in a team sports situation. If only someone had taken me aside and given me the sort of programme my PT has - a mix of weights, functional training and cardio, I might have finally discovered my fitness mojo before I hit my 30s!

  38. MJ and chickengirl, let's tag team the morons! I would not at all have any moral objection whatsoever to wiffle bats, they sting good and we could really vent without doing much damage physically (no hitting above the shoulders), but actually facing decades worth of ferocious rage could certainly leave an impression the f***ers would never, ever forget, and could maybe make them think twice about even making a snarky comment ever again. 'Cause they'd be thinking about what if they pissed off someone who would actually use a REAL bat?

    And my apologies to anyone struggling with weight, I didn't mean "fat" in a bad way... I'm more thinking the mean high school "star" who that was their high point in life.. maybe that's the better curse, that they never went anywhere but downhill from there.

    But, according to my faith, it's all just illusion and better used as fuel for training! So I can't even do that, and really mean it. Rant felt good though, thanks.

  39. I preferred male gym teachers. As soon as I was 12, I faked having my period about 3 weeks of every month-- male teachers were better because they were more gullible and too embarrassed to voice any suspicions, even if they had them.

    But no gym teacher, male or female, ever got my name right. They all called me "Kathy" (my name is KATE).

    Gym was nothing more than a series of funless and often embarassing activities. What's with the idea that "individual excercise" means crunches and even more funless crap? Dancing, yoga, martial arts... there are lots of activities that improve physical fitness and health but that are not, per se, excercise.

    Excercise sucks! Bicycling is fun! Excercise hurts, yoga makes you feel great. Excercise is boring, kicking holy hell out of a punching bag is release... get the idea?

  40. I'm with tk, bunnygirl, &chickengirl. I HATED gym class.

    I hated, Hated, HATED junior high and high school gym because of the reasons listed above - not popular, more academic so chosen among the last. Like someone else said, gym class seemed to be designed to have the athletic/team kids show the rest of us up. (Is field hockey really any fun?) And the teachers were also the coaches so they didn't think much of the non-athletes (thanks for lowering my gpa) and certainly didn't go out of their way to boost the self confidence of the non-athletes.

    [One of the most interesting things we did do is archery. I actually enjoyed class for a week or two - it's not like we had an archery team or anything so for once we were all on equal footing.]

    Most of my bad memories are not so much from the class but the snarky locker room cr*p afterwards.

    No one has mentioned this yet, but we had to wear these ugly red "gymsuits" that were short sleeve cotton romper style outfits - basically a shirt with attached elastized bloomer panties that snapped up the front. (This was in the 70s & early 80s) They were hideous and and as an added source of humiliation also showcased pit stains. Why couldn't the girls get to wear a tee shirt and shorts like the boys? They would have been much more modest than the outfits we wore. I was extremely self conscious in wearing shorts that were basically really loose underpants and I was a normal weight kid.

    Our school also had swimming starting in 7th grade and had hideous non-lycra school swimsuits to wear. To fit my rear, the top was always baggy - another self esteem booster. Thank god I picked up planter warts and got a doctor's note to get out of class for most of high school. The worst was having to try and fix dry your hair and put some makeup on in 10 minutes or less.

    Because of my gym class experiences I didn't think of myself as athletic and shunned a lot of organized physical activity until I was in my twenties. I grew up skiing so I did do something physical but it wasn't until I started cycling and training for a century ride with some friends that I realized I could enjoy a sustained aerobic activity. I had always been a slow runner and got what I now know is athletic induced asthma when I ran as a kid. Now, I really like lifting weights and spin class.

    I don't think gym class should be imposed on kids in school and certainly not GRADED. I never got a substantial amount of exercise out of it. My exercise came from after school play. Team sports can be introduced to kids through little league and AYSO where you voluntarily sign up and you have your parents around to advocate for you. [Those of you who don't have kids yet - sign 'em up when their 5 - the cliqueness starts early] Once you hit junior high and high school, maybe offer intramural sports and a workout room and various aerobics classes but I don't believe it should be required.

  41. I have to comment on the presidential fitness awards because I think about those a lot. I never could do any of the things that were required. I am sure it is because there was never any practice or training on any of it. I always felt like I was not and could never be athletic because I could not just magically do those things.

    I have since learned that I can do anything with the proper training at my own pace and in my own way. I couldn't run one of those laps. I run half marathons now.

  42. Ah! Gym Class! I was always last one picked and the all time goalie. I hated gym class. Probably still would even without the emphasis on team sports.

  43. Thanks for bringing up these scarring memories, Crabby! I'm kidding, but I do remember the Presidential Fitness Tests. One of the tests was to see how many pull-ups the boys could do. The girls' equivalent of this test was "The Bent-Arm Hang" They would lift you up to grab the pull-up bar, and then let go of you to see how long you could hold yourself with your chin above the bar. I hit my damn chin on that bar as soon as they let go of me. Every. Single. Year. Once, I even bit my tongue, drawing blood. I am an athlete, but my upper-body strength has still never been what it should be. I think my arm muscles are still scared I'm going to attempt the Bent-Arm Hang again, so they are hiding out.

  44. When you are a nerd and a whimp, gym class was a nightmare. A nightmare. However, my last year of high school, coach got it right. Occasionally we did calisthenics. But the rest of the week, he'd let us group up and pick our own sport. I played volleyball with my girlfriends. No 6 foot overly hormonal boys cramming that thing down my throat!

  45. I had a great gym teacher in elementary and I loved gym class. So did all my friends, and some of us were athletic and some of us weren't. She was just a good teacher. Looking back on things, I'm almost positive she is a lesbian...and sometimes people who are themselves diverse are better at nurturing diversity in others (like she was always really good at helping everyone find SOMETHING they were good at, and then having that kid give a demonstration). She was on of those teachers who made every kid feel like he/she was the best.

    So yeah, I loved gym up until 6th grade.

    Buuuut, then I got to middle school and our gym teacher favored the popular kids. I didn't start hating gym but I didn't love it anymore either.

    I do respectfully disagree with Crabby on one thing...team sports are probably more important than you hear. at least for people like me. My parents got divorced, we moved, I had no friends, the teachers wanted to hold me back a grade because I wasn't "socially developed enough," I had low self-esteem, I was overweight and awkward. My mom put me on a soccer team. It turned my life around, and I'm not exaggerating. Sure, I was still fat and awkward, but I developed the confidence to love myself. I give 50% credit to my mom and 50% credit to sports. I wouldn't be who I am today without those two things.

    Maybe sports are not "character building" for everybody. But for some people they are life changing. I studied Sports Management in college because I want to promote sports/healthy living/fitness for women.

    Playing soccer turned my life around.

    ps. I was a cheerleader in high school, and I was never mean to anybody. If you're gonna hate on people, hate on mean people because they're mean, don't hate on a girl just because she's a cheerleader.

  46. mamacita is right to remind me that cheerleaders are people too, and nowadays maybe some of them are even nice. Oh, hey, I just remembered I actually know one, and she lives in NEBRASKA. So maybe it's a California thing??? There actually was one nice girl at my HS, Sandy, and I remember her still because she was the ONE nice girl. But yeah, one can't paint everyone with the same brush, it's NOT fair or kind.

    I still will continue to laugh when a cheerleader bites it in a horror movie though, it's a reflex after all these years, and I can't help it.

  47. Oh, and those one piece gym suits in middle school, you nailed it, weren't they just too horrid????!! With no sleeves on ours, so when you put your arms up your pits hung out, and my best girl friend didn't shave, and girls would point and laugh. I finally had to tell her....

    What misogynist came up with that crap? I hope their karma caught up with them but good. What the heck was wrong with t-shirts and shorts indeed? It was abysmal.

    I had the one definitely gay gym teacher in middle school that I was madly in love with for two years because she treated me like a human being. She picked me to do the jump where you run and throw yourself up and over a bar and land on your back on a pad. I'd never done it, but she wanted me to demonstrate, I guess she could tell I was athletic. I nailed it in front of everyone. Nobody laughed.

    Several gay gym teachers in high school, and my gay art teacher was previously a gym teacher... am I seeing a pattern here...? LOL!

  48. I don't really know how things are/were in other countries, since my middle/high school P.E. classes were in France in the 1990s. But I can share my own experience as well, I suppose.

    Oddly enough, I didn't hate P.E. class. There were sports I disliked, and sports I liked. Retrospectively, I realize that in fact, when I didn't like P.E., it was never because of my weight. (Hm, interesting... Now I need to think about that some more.)

    For instance, I didn't like the yearly "mini-marathon" we had in middle-school, but this was more because they always organized it in November, so it was cold, rainy, and did I say cold, and running in the cold makes my nose and lungs hurt. (Up until about 1 year ago, I would always catch 5-6 colds in the 6 months of 'cold season', and I always fell ill after such runs. :()

    I was definitely at unease with climbing and gymnastics. I happen to suffer from a mild form of vertigo, and climbing on a 6-meters wall definitely frightened me to death, especially when the partner supposed to hold my rope was a 45-kgs little wisp (I was about 30 kgs more!) who kept on chatting with other girls and didn't pay attention to me. LOL

    And I also hated swimming, again for a reason not related to my weight: when I was 8, the teacher found nothing better to do than to throw me in the 'deep basin' at the swimming pool to 'teach me to swim'. Right. What it taught me was to be afraid of any water that went above my chin. I only managed to win over that fear when I was 22, thanks to my then BF who taught me skin-diving and had, above all, the good sense to NEVER tell me "oh, beware, you're swimming in deep waters now!" (he told me afterwards only, when I wouldn't be afraid of it anymore).

    On the other hand, I loved hurdles, triathlon classes and basket-ball. I was on the volley-ball team for one year before they dismissed it due to lack of attendance, and I played volley-ball again in high school for 3 years for the inter-classes matches. I was pretty good at serving, among other things, and people on the other teams would never take me seriously, because "oh look at the short fat girl, she must be crap at sports, let's not be worried about her". Hee hee.

    Ah yes, high school was also when I first got good grades at running! We were graded not only on how fast, but also on how regularly we would run laps; I wasn't fast, but I have quite the inner clock when it comes to regularity.

    Well, I guess that in short, I liked P.E. when I liked the sport we practiced? I never was great at anything, but I could hold my ground in several sports without being ridiculous, at least.

  49. Wow, I find these stories so amazing and moving--thanks so much, everyone, for sharing those godawful (or not so godawful, depending) memories.

    Junior high school and high school were a really miserable time for me too, being a geeky baby-dyke with no fashion sense and no clue about how to be less unpopular. (And being gay back then even in California was not considered just another lifestyle choice, but genuine freakitude.) But I wasn't the total bottom rung of the social ladder, and didn't get bullied or teased. And gym class was one of the few places I fit in better because I was pretty good at sports.

    So I can relate, in general, to the adolescent emotional scars, but had no idea how creepy and sadistic those classes could be! Thanks again for giving me a clue.

  50. Another hypothyroid teenager here. We had only one year of required gym in high school, and I hated it. I grew up despising competitiveness in all fields, not just sports. In elementary school I rotated with two other girls being picked last for kickball and softball, but I never minded that--I knew I wasn't any good at them and I didn't want to be. I got some mild enjoyment from playing. I was never picked on, or teased for being bad at games, not even in gym class which was over a hundred girls, hardly any of them known to me. It was just excruciatingly boring.
    It was the year after gym class that my hypothyroidism was diagnosed--I think it was probably developing over the past three years. I remember in health class that year, we all took our pulse rates, and most people were around 70, and mine was 50, and then we did a few minutes of jumping jacks, and most of the class went up between 100 and 120, and I went up to 55. Didn't think anything of it at the time, but I used to run up the stairs so that by the time I ran out of breath I'd be on the level and could just pant without making much effort.
    The children I played with were all active. We ran around the neighborhood, we rode bikes, we roller skated, we had tree-climbing races, we jumped rope. We just all hated team sports. The thing about gym class was, it made individual sports just as boring.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  51. Yeah, gym class pretty much sucked for me too for all those slow-fat-uncoordinated reasons but I do remember having a SCARY gym coach...he was actually fired for throwing a clip board at a student!! He would always roll around the gym in an office chair (which he also threw at the wall on one occasion.) I guess pissing him off and seeing his reaction made gym class not soooooo dreadful.

  52. When I was in high school I wasnt the most popular or pretty girl, and I was pretty shy. But I loved gym class, because I was good at sports and that was one of the only times I felt like I actually fit in. I know this is the opposit of what most people here experienced, but for some people like me competition and team sports in gym class actually made high school better!

  53. Why didn't you join a sport? Don't you think that would have been a great way to express your love of competition?

  54. Great post, Crabby, but I hated it. Gym class, that is. I was fat, pasty, hairy (let's just say my uncoordinated-ness didn't magically stop when a razor was in my hand), wearing the least trendy clothes, and most likely to smell and feel dreadful for the rest of the perfectly normal day.

    Now I run. I lift weights. I walk everywhere, do yoga when time permits, and pride myself on being able to kick high-school-athlete butt.

    But, God, I never would have predicted this. Never. If "being fit" required mandatory volleyball (aaahhh! My glasses!), rope climbing (um, no? My arms? Are weak?), and team sports conducted with little training on how to play, I'd be on the way to a coronary, as my fifth-grade PE teacher predicted.

  55. More awful but inspiring stories! I love the way almost all of these have ultimately happy endings as you all figured out great ways to be fit without the torture. Thank you guys so much!

  56. I was alerted by Dr. J that the subject was gym class. At first I wasn't going to respond.The more I thought about it I realized
    that it might be interesting to find out if anyone else had the same experience we had in high school. Recently a few Evanston Township
    high school (Chicago) alums were talking about a strange thing that happened in boys' gym class. At the time (late 60's)we never even
    thought about it. Back then nobody questioned authority. So when we were told that when in swim class there would be no bathing
    suits,we all went along with the program. Fast forward 40 + years to the present and we hear about all the perverts in society.
    We all just wondered what the heck were they up to?

  57. I did do sports also, but that isnt actually part of school... so during gym i could actually show the other kids that i could actually do something...

  58. I don't have good or bad memories about PE. I do know that I hate bowling and softball because I was forced to play in church leagues for both, and I find them extremely boring and a waste of time. The one sport I did like was volleyball, but when I got to high school, tryouts were awful because all the girls were super mean about it. I had a really hard time in elementary school because I had exercise & stress induced asthma. I could never be the fastest at anything because I'd have to stop and use my inhaler, which made me all shaky and useless for 30 minutes. My school was so small that we ALL had to participate in basketball, volleyball and the track meet or else we wouldn't have a team. It was okay because I got to hang out with my friends and we were all on the same team, but we sucked. It's annoying going to a game knowing that you're going to lose. I did okay at the long jump at track meets because usually there were only three or four other competitors, so it was easy to place in the top five. The one thing that pisses me off to this day is that I wasn't allowed to do the shot put because I was a girl. It was the one thing that wouldn't give me an asthma attack, and they decided to be f'ing sexists about it (despite me CONSTANTLY reaming the principal over the unfairness of the situation).

    However, I'm still proud that despite asthma, I was able to complete the one-mile race at the track meet. I came in second to last, but I did it.

    Last summer, I ran my first 10K.

    But I still hate bowling and softball.

  59. I see that a couple of people mentioned hating the locker rooms. When I went to school we were never made to shower after gym classes. I'm curious as to whether or not most people who had to shower in school found it embarrassing or not. I have friends who have said that they had to shower in school, some of them said it didn't bother them, and some said it did bother them. I guess the idea of having been made to shower in school is so foreign to me that I honestly don't know how I would have felt back then? I think I could deal with it now as an adult if I had to, but I really don't know how I would have reacted back then?


  60. Good question Jessica--
    We weren't made to at our school; only the really popular confident girls did regularly and many of the rest of us just went around sweaty most of the time. But I don't know what's typical.

  61. I was made to shower in middle school, however if you had your 'period' that particular week you didn't have to, and some of the girls always did. Ha. However, I thought it was really weird at first, being the first time any of us really saw another person naked, but I got used to it after about a year. I was also an athlete so was also sometimes volunteering to shower after a morning practice or something. Since everyone had to do it, it wasn't constricted to the 'popular hot girls', and it would definitely be too embarrassing for a 7th or 8th grader to make fun of another while in the buff. We pretty much just got it over with with little discussion, but many pokes of fun at the gym teacher who we all assumed was a lesbian if she was making us shower. very mature.

  62. Thank you Crabby and Chessiakelley.

    A few of my girlfriends are at polar opposites of how they viewed the mandatory showers in school. One said that she hated it and wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy and two of them said that they would have never dreamed of not having showered after gym class and would have felt gross all day long if they weren't able to have showered. If I had to guess, I think I probably would have kind of felt like Chessiakelley? It probably would have seemed strange at first, but I probably could have gotten used to it.

    Oh, and Chessiakelley, my friend who hated showering in school also complained that one of her gym teachers would stare at them in the showers, so your class wasn't alone in that feeling it would seem.


  63. I thought you might enjoy reading the article at the website...


    Please let me know your opinions on the article. I think every teen girl and even adult woman should read this wonderful article.

    Annette T

  64. Were mandatory showers in gym class common in high schools in the 1980's? We did have to shower at my school, and I'm just currious if most schools were requiring it at that time?

  65. Absolutely hated and despised it. I loved it when I was really young, like first and second grade. Moved to a new place and found a whole found a whole new world of hell awaiting me. I was shy. Didn't know a soul. Since I was the new kid, I was picked last for everything. I couldn't kick the kick ball, couldn't hold a bat, couldn't understand tetherball, hated soccer. Then came Jr high and besides the wretched jock girls giving me hell, the coaches joined in and ridiculed me openly. They would note how uncoordinated I was in front of everyone. One particularly heinous wretch screamed at me during volleyball, then came into the dressing room when we were done, and kicked me in the back. She screamed into my face "SORRY!" I never wanted to go to gym again. Gymnastics were another form of torture. Every skinny coordinated girl could do it with grace. I swear I wallowed, waddled, awkwardly straddled, and looked about as graceful as a hippo in tutu. Funnily, I would give anything to go back to that girl I was who only thought she was fat and show her some love and kindness. I wasn't fat. I was just uncoordinated and afraid of what everyone would think. Yeah... how about it made me so afraid of going to gyms ever again that I'm now morbidly obese and struggling to lose all the years of cramming all those bad feelings down my throat. Bullies and insane gym teachers should be given a special place in hell for what they do to kids. Wish I could be there to see all the Karma come right back around to bite them in the butt.

  66. What dreadful memories this post has brought back! Being a shy, klutz does not help in gym class! I was lousy at all sports and still am! I far prefer individual sports, weights and swimming and although I am in no way a natural runner I enjoy the sense of accomplishment.
    However my one great gym memory: If I ended up at bat in softball everyone moved in (they knew if I managed a hit it would not go far) Most times I actually struck out, but on this one occasion a miracle occurred! I hit the ball, the pitcher (who had been making some pretty snarky comments) for some reason had turned and bent over - my one and only hit at bat smacked right into her bum! It was a thrilling moment in my sports career!

  67. Sigh, I am actully going into my first year in jr high. I am 12 years old. Tomorrown is gym and I'm very nervous... I'm elementry school I was the slow girl that dreaded the mile doing anything to get out of it, I don't know what to do... I honestly cry about gym because I'm worried. I don't know what to do really...

  68. I'm 14 and just started high school. I absolutely, completely hate PE and wish I would break my leg to get out of it(I'm not kidding). I've only had one real high school PE class and it was torture for me.

    One amazing thing did happen though. I was behind everyone else and one of the girls slowed down so I could catch up with her. She encoraged me and afterward and made me feel a lot better about myself. She said she has always hated being the last one in PE. If she wasn't in my PE class it would have been a lot worse. I'm used to feeling horrible about myself in PE because I suck at sports, especially running, but she made me feel much better. I'm so glad she's in my class.

  69. I hated gym class during my school years, although I love to go to the YWCA as an adult.

    Most of the gym teachers were a bunch of jerks. I was very unathletic back then. I was always one of the very last people picked for teams.
    And we had to shower in gym class starting in the fifth grade. Can you believe that? In the fifth grade! I've never heard anyone else say that they had to shower in the fifth grade. The earliest I've ever heard anyone else say that they had to shower in gym class was in the sixth grade. Most people didn't have to shower any earlier than the seventh grade. My daughters told me that their elementary school didn't even have showers in the building.

    By the time that I was in high school I probably wouldn't have minded showering in gym class anymore, but in high school I had a lot of cheerleaders in my gym classes, and a lot of other girls who were hot and knew it. In high school gym classes a lot of the girls enjoyed prancing around 100% buck naked in the locker room for long periods of time. A lot of them would even blow dry their hair or do their makeup while completely naked. It wasn't that I had any problem with seeing nude females. In fact it doesn't bother me at all now at the Y. But back then I envied the girls with the hotter bodies that could stand around totally nude carrying on casual conversations without a care in the world.
    I can actually admire the ladies at the Y that are able to do that as adults. I wish that I could be more like that now!



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