Friday, May 8, 2009

Gym class commandos

Due to the ever-expanding waistline of many high school students, our elected officials have made physical education classes mandatory through Grade 10.
When I was in high school, PE was just a part of the curriculum.
Because the school I went to had a strong athletics program, the gym classes were typically geared toward the jocks, and the teachers (who were also the coaches) would divide us into teams so we could learn to play games like football and basketball.
Funny part was, one side often consisted of members of the school football team and anyone not on the team was designated the opposition, or as they were more commonly known: tackling dummies.
Same for basketball. It just happened to work out all the sportos ended up on the same team and we would spend our class being the opposition while the teacher ran drills. It was not like that for every class, just near the playoffs.
To keep us in shape, the guardians of the jock straps decided we needed to run – a lot. That was fine because I had been running for years already and I was in pretty good shape, but I always questioned the route they chose.
We had a nice, flat field with a track located 50 metres from the gymnasium, but where’s the fun in that?
No, our gym teachers had a much better plan and it was called ‘Running the Tower.’ The Tower was a large water tower on the side of a mountain and the assignment was to run up the mountain, around the tower and then back down the mountain – a distance of about three kilometres. My knees still hurt from the pounding of running down a dirt trail.
The gym teachers at my old alma mater were, for lack of a better term, borderline lunatics.
They were an odd pair. One teacher was huge. You know the type – no neck, unibrow, big forehead, hairy back, looks like he should be sitting in the jungle eating grubs or something. He was your typical muscle-bound super jock who couldn’t make it as a pro so he decided to turn his attention to making life miserable for any non-athletic teens who were unfortunate enough to land in his class.
The other teacher was a little guy and when they walked down the hall together they looked like the bulldog and the Chihuahua from the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
While the big one had to stop walking when he talked so his brain could concentrate on forming words, the little one was much more animated and would turn red in the face, holler, scream and generally freak out if he felt someone was not playing hard enough – and that was just during a ‘fun’ game of floor hockey.
I remember one kid getting hurt and hitting the ground and instead of seeing if he was OK, this teacher was yelling at him to “Get back in there.”
I don’t mean to burst your bubble there Skippy, but this is a Grade 9 floor hockey game, not the Stanley Cup finals and getting maimed for the sake of marginal bragging rights seems pretty stupid to me.
This guy was like that all the time, no matter the surroundings.
Winning a game of kick ball was like the World Series to this little man who was about five feet tall and weighed in at around 120 pounds, but had the attitude of Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan combined.
“Excuse me, sir. But, are you trying to live vicariously through your students because you were not even big enough to make the junior varsity tidally wink team when you were in school? I mean, if you were any smaller and the mob was after you, you could hide out in an elementary school.”
If it wasn’t so comical, it would be stupid.
He would strut around in his miniature track suit (that I suspect he acquired from the Ken doll sport and leisure line up) with a whistle hanging around his neck that looked like a piece of oversized bling because he was so tiny. And that was when he went grocery shopping. I don’t think I ever saw him without his whistle.
I am not sure where he is now, probably in a nursing home some where with his oversized whistle telling his co-habitants to “walk it off. You call that a stroke, that’s nothing. Get back out there.”

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