Gym class…why me?

When I was in high school we had gym class every day. That’s right, every single day of the week. I hated it with a passion. I used to pretend I had my period twice a month so I wouldn’t have to join in, and I hoped that the gym teacher, Miss Anderson, wouldn’t notice.

We had to wear short blue jumpsuits with elastic “bloomer” legs and I thought they were ridiculous. Then we had to play all sorts of games that I despised, including baseball, and worst of all volleyball. I was always afraid of injuring my hands and not being able to play the piano.

But the worst things of all in gym were tumbling and jumping over the vaulting horse. I didn’t like doing somersaults because they made me dizzy, and I was too short to pull myself up on the horse. The parallel bars were almost as bad.

We had to spend an hour every day doing this stuff, and then after we were all sweaty and smelly we’d be rushed into the gang shower. What high school girl isn’t self-conscious about her body? Well, I was short and scrawny. I couldn’t see anybody else because I was nearsighted, but I just knew they were all looking at me and snickering.

Poor Miss Anderson. She knew I hated gym and tried everything she could think of to get me interested in something…anything, but I never cooperated, and when she finally got the bright idea to turn me into a cheerleader, I actually burst out laughing. A CHEERLEADER? Me? My little intellectual friends and I always used to turn our noses up at cheerleaders, and she wanted me to BE one?

But here’s the thing: secretly I was fascinated the tough, tomboy girls who were really good at sports. I had absolutely nothing common with them, but I admired their strength and skill. Not that I would ever admit it to anyone, of course. I just kept walking around with a chip on my shoulder, which I’m sure didn’t completely hide the fact that I was just plain scared of most sports.

But Miss Anderson, bless her heart, just pretended that she didn’t notice I had my period twice a month, and always let me sit on the sidelines without a word.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Gym class…why me?

  1. I had pretty much the same gym class experience. Same daily dread, similar nearsighted shower experience and horrible gym clothes and, for me, a total lack of skill (or interest) in sports. The only thing worse than High School gym was Junior High gym! Thanks, again, for the great posts. Enjoying the story…

    • It’s really comforting to know that I’m not the only one who went through this…there may have been some other kids in my gym class who felt that way, but they didn’t let on…
      Glad you’re enjoying the story, Laura!

  2. Libby Unwin

    I was one of those tom boy types–the exact opposite of you. I loved volleyball (my favorite) but I TOTALLY get why you didn’t!

  3. Becky

    I had to endure group showering with other girls five days a week from grades 6 through 12.

    We had to undress at our lockers and walk naked through the locker room on the way to the group showers. If you tried to leave the showers too soon for the teachers liking, she’d send you back in for five more minutes. After showering we had to walk up to the teacher, she would then check our names off on her clipboard and then hand us a towel.

    There were those of us who hated the group showering, but there were also quite a few showoffs that enjoyed prancing around in the nude.

    To make matters worse, our middle school was in the same building as the high school, and during the 6th through the 8th grades they always had one of the high school girls assist the gym teacher. Those girls always showered with us too. In the sixth grade there were many of us who didn’t have breasts or pubic hair yet, which made it all the more awkward showering next to high school girls who had fully matured bodies. And again, those girls seemed all too happy to walk around in the nude.

  4. Becky

    Thank you, Amy.

    I forgot to mention that one of the high school girls that assisted the gym teacher was my next door neighbor who also happened to be my older sisters best friend. She was one of the happy-nude-prancers.

    When you said that you knew that the other girls were looking at you and snickering, you do mean that in your mind they were doing that, right? I highly doubt that they were really doing that!?!?

    On the positive side, I do have to say that no-one picked on anyone else in the showers at my school.

    One of my best friends at the time went to a different school than I did, and from what she described at the time, the girls at her school went through a more embarrassing routine in their swimming classes than we did with gym class at my school. She said that they had to take the required nude shower, and then line up and wait to be called foreword to be handed a school issued bathing suit. No-one was allowed to put on the bathing suit until after each girl had been given their bathing suit.

  5. Ah…the suffering we endured in school! I honestly don’t remember whether the kids really snickered…it was a long time ago, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did!

  6. B

    You might enjoy reading this article? It has to do with teen girls and self esteem in locker room situations.

    http://www.utne.com/community/bathing-beauties.aspx

  7. B

    You’re welcome!

    I hope you enjoyed reading the article. I’m happy to see teen girls who have good self esteem without arrogance.

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