Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear High School Gym Coach

Dear High School Gym Coach,

You were very, very fat.  You had a lazy eye.  I can't remember your name.  I'm sorry that I can't remember your name.  You got mad at me because I wouldn't dress out or participate, but you didn't push the issue. 

I kinda wish you had pushed the issue.  I want to tell you now that I didn't dress out or particpate because I was too self-conscious.  I was awkward and, furthermore, mortified by my own awkwardness.  Some teenagers are like that, you know.  There was a little group of us.  We were all girls. 

Physical Education as a subject - your class - was a literal exercise in horrorifciation for me.  Sitting on the bleachers in my jeans and sweater, taking my failing grade each day, was difficult for a student who always wanted to please, always wanted to try her best, but the humiliation I faced attempting any sort of vigorous physical activity in front of my peers outweighed my usual teacher's pet attitude; besides, I knew that there wasn't any chance I'd ever be able to sparkle or please or even function in the gym or on the field. 

Case in point, one day when I did dress out (I had to dress out and participate at least a certain number of times in order to pass the class.  This standard was exceptionally low.) we worked in the weight room and I had to lay down on the bench thing with everyone looking up my shorts and I couldn't even lift the bar without any weights on it and you were openly disgusted. 

Today, I'm still unhappy with my body and what it can and cannot do.  I'm still awkward.  I regret that I didn't participate in gym, or in sports, or in anything physical when I was younger.  I regret that you, that someone, didn't intervene in my life in a gentle, positive, affirming way regarding the importance and joys of establishing and maintaining physical health.  I regret that this is still happening in our schools today. 

I wonder if you are dead.  Not in a vindictive way, just wondering. 

Amber

6 comments:

sarambo said...

I hated dressing out for gym back in the day. I also hated the fact that I was supposed to shower after every gym period even if I didn't really do anything during the period. I mean do I really need to shower if I spend the entire class standing in the baseball field gossiping?

Amber said...

Thank goodness they didn't make us shower.

Daniel Romo said...

I always wanted to be a P.E. teacher. They get to wear sunhats and read the paper while everyone runs around the track. Instead I teach high school creative writing. But I still read the paper.

Amber said...

They're teaching creative writing in high school? Would I ever like to have that gig!

Daniel Romo said...

It's a living. Sometimes fun. Sometimes not. Nice blog :)

sw said...

*FUCK* high school (and jr. high school) gym teachers. They can *all* suck it. Take your haughty attitudes and stick them up your steak-headed asses. If you got your MBA; maybe you'll get to be a vice-principal one day. Until then, leave the attitude at home and keep teaching driver's ed. *I* didn't put you here. Give me my zero and fuck off.