The Psychological Impact of Gym Class


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Gym class was never much fun. I knew that I wasn't going to be an athlete; the other kids knew I wasn't going to be an athlete, and the coach knew I wasn't going to be an athlete. With all this knowledge floating around, I still had to move the ball and make it go that way, very fast. So I would approach the ball, and make it move in a general direction, at an adequate speed, which was good enough for me. I was still beaten up.

 

You know what I've got issues with, the gym propaganda. There's tons of it, leaking out of the mouths of teachers, coaches, celebrities, committees, activists, presidents, and the like. They say over and over again that sports help children develop self esteem, as well as help them live happier, healthier lives. Well, my question is, why do over half the students in my gym class sit with a depressed look on their faces? They look at the ball go by, scratch a little, look up at the clock, and look at the ball go back by the other way. If they're not going to enjoy the athletics and aren't going to even try, then give these kids another option.

 

Eg. Instead of actually playing baseball, kids can watch "Pride of the Yankees". Instead of playing hockey, there's air hockey. A nice alternative to football would be foosball.

 

Why do aerobics when you could simply watch Cindy Crawford do them for 45 minutes?

 

Old Coach Curko, there was a coach. He could tell who wanted to be in gym, and who didn't. He put all the boys who could, and wanted to, play basketball on the full court. He put us boys who really didn't like gym all together on a half court with some partially inflated relic from the Carter administration. So we would talk about computers and politics, and at least attempt to shoot a basket once in a while. Of course, whenever we did try to shoot a basket it would bounce off the bottom of the rim and end up in the full court. Then one of the larger boys would kick it at us and shout something about us being of homosexual orientation. And the cycle would begin anew. We boys on the half court had fun because there really wasn't much pressure to do well.

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The kids who were on the full court had a nice, hard game of basketball. Of course, the constitution states that all men were created equal, whether they like it or not. So in the spirit of equality the administrators try to have everyone playing on the same field. It's a great intention, but not the best reality. Case in point: Dodge Ball.

 

Now there's an interesting sport. We used to play it all the time when we were kids. It's a method of relieving academic stress for some kids; in other words, gargantuan monosyllabic idiots got to peg the smarter kids with inflated balls and get away with it.

 

A basic game of dodge ball went like this:

 

Ten of us would line up on one side of half the gym, ten on the other. You would have to peg the kids on the other side of the gym to get them "out". Our coach at the time was a very nice guy under normal circumstances, but he also liked to see kids getting hit with inflatable balls. He would demand that some of the bigger kids try for head shots, just to make things interesting. "That's head shot number two!" he would shout.

 

I could never really throw the ball very fast, or very accurately, or very far, so I would just try to avoid getting hit. Eventually I was the only one on my side of the gym, which is when the other kids decided to throw all their ball at once in the hopes of scoring a hit. Dodge ball has some interesting ties to medieval gun battles. A bunch of men loyal to one lord would take one side of a battlefield and a bunch of men loyal to another lord would take the opposite side. The gun's weren't very accurate, and didn't have a very good range, but if there were a lot of people on your side, and they all had a gun, someone on the other side of the field was bound to die. .

 

Am I mad at the gym teachers? Not really. They're out there doing their best to keep everyone physically fit. They also seem to be out there doing their best to keep everyone mentally unstable, psychologically unbalanced and borderline psychotic, but physically fit.

 

And if you don't have your health, what do you have?


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