Just athletic enough to climb on my soapbox.

So, there’s this article, aptly titled, “In which I blame my PE teacher for ruining exercise for me forever.”

And I read the article, and was basically like, “This author is my spirit animal! Yes!”

And then I read all the comments, which are basically a gajillion women saying, “Yes! You are my spirit animal!”

And then I realized that holy shit, that mandatory class that’s supposed to teach us how to be healthy and active has basically turned thousands and thousands of girls / women / female people off of being healthy and active.

It seems that every non-jock has at least 1 horror story about a PE teacher who was mean, vindictive, unsupportive, and / or batshit crazy. If you’re like me, you hate this crazy, so you hate PE and try to find ways to get out of it. Somehow, your brain expands that to hating all exercise.

I hated PE since the dawn of time – quite possibly because my elementary school memories include:

  • Getting beamed in the face at close range by a basketball, and having the PE teacher tell me it was my own fault because I ran 2 feet off course in our obstacle course
  • Dying of embarrassment when the PE teacher made a big show of attempting to teach me how to swing a bat – but eventually admitting defeat – as my entire class got pissed that their softball game was halted

Physical activity? Fun? What?

I read somewhere recently that exercise is like pooping – your body just has to do it. It’s necessary and not negotiable.

Now, instead of going off on a tangent about how my then-2-year-old brother decided for a while that he didn’t like pooping and so just wasn’t going to do it (this was also around the same time he decided he was only going to eat orange foods), I’m going to stay on task and save the poo tale for another time.

Here’s the thing: we have to empower girls to take charge of their bodies. And making somebody feel bad because they can’t serve a flippin’ volleyball is not the road to empowerment.

I hope that things have changed since the olden days when I dreaded PE with all my heart and soul. I’m guessing they probably haven’t. Not for me, anyway – I still have dreams that I’m running late for high school PE and if I miss it, I’ll have to run to make up the class … the class that was GRADED and counted towards your real-life GPA. It was a nerd’s nightmare, and it haunts me to this day.

In my fantasy world, all PE teachers focus on learning new stuff and having fun. And this speech is mandatory at the beginning of every class:

Today, we’re going to learn new things and we’re going to have fun. There’s room for everybody in this class. Remember, we all have different skills – some people are great at math, and some people are great at kickball. We all have our special gifts. Now, let’s have some fun!

Oh, and anybody who makes fun of another student automatically flunks the class. For the year.

Maybe if I had that type of environment, I wouldn’t be, you know, almost totally sedentary.

Did you like PE? How did it translate to your adult exercise or lack thereof?

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