News flash: "Negative memories of gym class may impact adults' lifestyle....Thirty-four percent of respondents reported feeling embarrassed by their childhood PE experience....People's gym-class memories 'had some degree of influence on their self-perception and ... the degree of their sedentariness' ...."
Let us sing a song of gym-class badness, a litany of humiliations that still burn decades later:
That time in the kickball game when by some miracle I made it to first base but then did not know what to do when I got there so my helpful classmates screamed at me to Tag up! Tag up! Tag up! but I did not know the meaning of the phrase and instead got tagged out and my helpful classmates let me know how they felt about my foolishness. Loudly.
Getting picked last for every team, of course, because while my classmates were experts in running, kicking, and hitting, my areas of expertise were tripping, falling, and closing my eyes whenever a ball came near my face. And then that brilliant gym teacher decided that students would take turns being captain and worked her way down the roll book as I waited patiently at the end of the alphabet, confident that I would finally get a chance to be the one doing the choosing instead of the one not chosen, and then when she'd reached my end of the alphabet the gym teacher skipped my name and went back to the top of the roll.
Not that I am bitter.
Let us glance over the casual humiliations of the locker room and focus on that instrument of human torture, the one-piece gym suit, a shapeless item in jersey knit that required wearers to fit the entire body through the neck-hole, and if you can show me someone whose neck size equals her hip size then you've found the only person capable of wearing that particular gym suit. The overstretched neck would stretch and sag and droop while the shorts would ride up and bunch just where you didn't want them to bunch, and since this was in Florida and I was fat, I sweated a lot during gym class, so by the end of the week the gym suit emitted odor rays capable of melting eyeballs at 30 paces.
And seriously: horizontal stripes? Whose thought that was a great idea?
Why did I take beginning tennis three different times? Because I couldn't hit the ball. Why did I quit golf lessons after the first day of class? Because I couldn't hit the ball and the teacher wouldn't let anyone go inside until everyone had hit three golf balls so they all stood there watching me not hit the balls. Why did I allow my membership to lapse at that one gym? Communal showers--are you kidding me? And those kids who couldn't stop staring at my scars!
I could go on, but who wants to dwell on all that awfulness? If I must sing the song of gym-class badness, I'll do it while walking the track at the rec center, where nobody tells me to tag up and I don't have to wear a horrible gym suit and I don't get picked last because I'm not on a team. Forget the litany of humiliation--I'm going for a walk.