August 4, 2011
The smell of a locker room can practically send my heart into Atrial Fibrillation. I can remember climbing the stairs to the Browns River Middle School girls locker room and wishing I would never get to the top. At the top would mean having to change into my gym clothes, put on that stupid nylon mesh pinnie and spend the next hour in utter humiliation.
I’m all for kids getting physical activity. Get them moving, teach them sports they might not have otherwise been exposed to and learn how to be a part of a team. I loved it when we played floor hockey or got to push that gigantic ball around the soccer field, but is it really necessary for a 9 year old to know how to vault over a pommel horse? In 5th grade I weighed 120 lbs. and the whole class knew this because we had our height and weight charted on a graph for one semester on a big poster on the gym wall. My graph line looked more like that Mountain Climber game on the Price is Right…going up and up with no prize for going over the top. (go on, yodel with Franz... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSAeyAV85UM&feature=related)
I mention the pommel horse because gymnastics week would cause me to break out in a rash and keep me up at night. I wish I could have been like my best friend Tracy Maciora. I so envied her ability to run full force at that springboard and catapult herself up and over like it was nothing. I on the other hand didn’t time my jump off the board correctly and slammed gut first into the side of that nasty naugahyde covered contraption. Once the air came back into my lungs, I asked Coach Williamson if I could sit out the rest of the class. He just shook his head and told me to get back in line. I puked on his Adidas. Nurse’s office is way better than sitting in the bleachers.
To this day it is still a process to psych myself up to do physical activity. But now it’s my choice, I do it because I have seen the benefits I gain from pushing myself to get it done. And I also choose never to vault over anything ever again!