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May 20, 2010 / Katie

The good things about gym class

I, like I am sure many of you, hated gym class with a burning passion and was ecstatic when I was done with having to take them ever again. Actually, I didn’t hate gym class until I was in fourth grade, when the gym teacher singled me and several other fat kids out for extra gym classes and an “exercise worksheet” that I had to do at home (sit ups, push ups, stuff like that). Oh the shame of having to hang that thing on the fridge, not only as a visible reminder to the whole family that I was a fatty fat fatty, but also to remind me every time that I wanted to eat anything out of the fridge that I was a fatty fat fatty (hello eating disorder!).

But, I will admit it, there were a handful of times I actually enjoyed gym class. And the image below, found floating around teh intarwebz, illustrates this well.

Yes, even if the mile runs and jump roping and getting picked last for teams was completely traumatic (which it was) I have to admit, those parachutes and square scooters sure were fun.

What did you enjoy about gym class?


Leave a Comment
  1. Nicole / May 20 2010 8:45 am

    square dancing week! :D (except for the whole never getting picked first as a partner)

  2. Kate / May 20 2010 9:36 am

    I was the best jump roper on two different continents that I knew, which as far as I was concerned made me the best jump roper in the world. :)

  3. Katja / May 20 2010 10:30 am

    Ugh. Sucks. Sorry they took that joy away at the time. I loved those little whealie carts, kick ball, rhythmic gymnastics (!) we had a Russian defector at the time who taught us tricks with the hoola-hoop and little ribbons and plastic balls. Hated high-school gym.

  4. Katja / May 20 2010 10:32 am

    by the way, I linked to this and used a quote to illustrate a point on my blog today about labels and physical activity and a cautionary note for Let’s Move…

  5. Heidi / May 20 2010 11:07 am

    Weirdly? I absolutely LOVED field hockey – we played on asphalt and I was actually decent at it. Not great, but decent. Because it was a fairly uncommon activity, most people were of moderate ability and so I didn’t have to feel like an utter FAILURE.

  6. The Bald Soprano / May 20 2010 11:34 am

    Floor Hockey! When I was a freshman, I could grin at the seniors as they came to try to get by me (I was always on defense… I was when I was on the soccer team, too), such that they were unnerved and I could just pass the puck through their legs to someone on my team without their realizing it at first.

    In elementary school, I also loved gymnastics. I was pretty good on the balance beam and the rings (I was devastated when I realized that only the boys got to do rings and parallel bars in the olympics).

  7. Ashley / May 20 2010 12:04 pm

    Due to some strange rules at my school, basically any sort of team that had an assigned class period for practice (so, all the regular sports like basketball, football, etc, plus stuff like band and cheerleading) were in the category of classes that counted for your PE credit. So, for my PE credit, I took, wait for it, QUIZ BOWL!! Yes, me and the other nerd kids got to set up our electronic buzzer system in the science lab and practice for quiz bowl tournaments. We had a science teacher for our sponsor and who would serve as the moderator during practice. It was awesome. (Though admittedly non-athletic).

  8. Fantine / May 20 2010 12:47 pm

    PE was the bane of my existence from third through ninth grade. In elementary school, though, I enjoyed playing floor hockey and volleyball. There was also one memorable week when they taught us to juggle using floaty scarves, which was awesome.

    I vaguely remember those square scooters, but I can’t remember what they were for!

    There was nothing enjoyable about junior high school PE. Every day I dreaded that class and every day I was just happy to have lived through it. Even the things I mildly enjoyed–volleyball and pickle ball, for example–were ruined by the constant humiliation, public weigh-ins and President’s Physical Fitness tests, mile runs where I was always the last one back, etc. In ninth grade I had a PE teacher who was clearly disgusted by my very presence, and believe it or not, that really didn’t help me “get healthy” or enjoy exercising. (/sarcasm)

    I was more than happy to get a doctor’s excuse to get out of PE in high school. My doctor wrote me a note that said I had asthma and should be excused. I do have asthma, but it’s generally not bad enough to keep me from physical activity. I wish he’d been able to put that it was better for my mental health to be excused, which was the truth.

  9. RachelB / May 20 2010 2:17 pm

    I liked speed ball (junior high) and badminton (high school).

    No one looked dignified and smooth playing speed ball (a hybrid of soccer, American football, and basketball), because it was a new game to all of us.

    Badminton we played two-on-two. I got paired with someone who was over 6 feet (and who didn’t complain bitterly about being my partner). Together, we covered the floor pretty well: I got the low-to-the-ground shots, he got the up in air stuff. I don’t remember any other times in gym class where a team mate actually gave me a high five on a regular basis.

  10. Anna / May 20 2010 4:43 pm

    I enjoyed it when I just got to do stuff with my friends. We would play so much harder and do so much more when we weren’t being shouted at by the sporty kids to try harder. We would try, and if it wasn’t up to their standards, we would just shut down and not do anything.

    But yes, I loved when we didn’t have to compete. One year we had a volleyball league, and we had the option of not competeing. My friends and I had a spectacular time, and it fostered in me a love for volleyball which lead to me now playing competitively. I thought it was the volleyball I fell in love with, but it turned out to be sport where I didn’t get yelled at.

  11. Rosie H / May 21 2010 3:10 am

    At my prep school (age 5-13), we played netball *all winter* and I hated it, to the extent that I used to try to make my glasses fall off and break because I couldn’t play if I couldn’t see. Then in my last year we started hockey, and I went on playing that at senior school (13-18). I liked hockey. I wasn’t much good at it, but I really enjoyed it – except when we played on the all-weather court and I kept skidding on the gravel and falling over.

    I liked badminton and squash at the prep school as well, though we didn’t get to play them that often. I always thought I’d probably have liked tennis if I’d ever been taught properly, but the teachers tended to concentrate on the good ones. I liked swimming until it got competitive.

    In the lower forms at the prep school, we sometimes used to play Piranhas (tig (or tag) on the gym apparatus, mustn’t touch the floor) and Medicine Ball (dodge the ball), which was fun. At senior school, which was a boarding school on the coast, I got into sailing – again, I was pretty hopeless, but I enjoyed it. Also the timing was good; it took up all of your Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in summer, but you didn’t have to do any sport in the rest of the week, whereas with normal sports you had to do three afternoons. Also if you weren’t good enough to be in the team, you sometimes got Saturday free.

    So, yes. Hated athletics, hated netball, hated aerobics. Hated being expected to know how to do something when I’d never been taught (which is what happens when you move schools at 13 and most of the others have had at least two years in the junior department). But some of it was fun, so long as it wasn’t too fiercely competitive.

    Gosh, that was a bit long. Sorry. What happened to me, that it doesn’t seem like fun any more?

  12. bananacat / May 21 2010 8:48 pm

    Gym class was traumatic for me from a very early age, and I wasn’t even fat or particularly nonathletic. I used to love being very active, but at recess. Several unfortunate situations in my gym classes made me hate playing all sports and games for a long time. I strongly believe that all gym classes should be replaced by a second recess, all the way up through high school.

    I did sorta like the “field” part of track and field (I despise running with the passion of a thousand suns). Discus is surprisingly fun, and the games were so uncommon that basically everyone sucked at them so it was nearly as embarrassing. I also really liked the weight training in high school, but it was such a small unit that it never made up for all the traumatic things, like discovering that I have cold-induced asthma during a mandatory mile run on a chilly fall morning.

  13. lifetraveler / May 24 2010 1:31 pm

    I loved PE. Even when I wasn’t very good at something (e.g. track), I still tried hard and enjoyed it. I was always picked last, even in the sports I was very good at. Picked last because I was fat. No other reason. It did not traumatize me though, I would have rather been picked last than other kids who were made fun of all the time. I was rarely made fun of (at least to my face). I always enjoyed seeing the faces of those who thought I could not play, when I’d hit a homer or beat an opponent in straight sets in tennis. Those memories are priceless.

  14. Anonymous / Sep 1 2011 6:50 pm

    In my entire “career” in school, I detested gym class. The closest thing to athletic activity I was good at was speed walking, which was my main method of transportation. (similar to how Kenyans win marathons by commuting to school as kids by running) But any other sport I was dreadfully bad at it. The only way I could help a team would be to go under cover and play on the opposite team.

    The net result of being picked last consistently, getting laughed off the field, general purpose bullying, and other atrocities, is that I get no enjoyment at all from athletic activity. When my knee blew out in Year 2001 (ironically a blown ACL) I took up driving to get around except for going to bars. (that’s what the bus is for)

    All what Michelle Obama’s “get moving” thing is, is to institutionalize the pre-existing humiliation of the the name of fighting obesity. I guess Michelle Obama has good DNA in terms of body weight and athleticism. She may as well humiliate Swedes for not having color in the name of preventing skin cancer. It’s the DNA, stupid! And bully culture does not help.


  1. Hortus Deliciarum » Blog Archive » PE Hell
  2. Kids labeled as overweight are LESS likely to be physically active: implications for Let’s Move | My Blog

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