Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I finally went for a run this morning. Between illness and being away, it's been a while. They say it doesn't take long to start losing your fitness and with my body still struggling with asthma, I decided to take it fairly easy. Not only did I take it slower but I also cut my jog short. As I got to the 1 mile gate (we have a gate about 1.6km from the house so I've nicknamed it 1 mile gate) it got me thinking about the 1.6km run we had to run as part of PE at school.

What I was thinking was how easy running 1.6km seems to me now in comparison to when I was forced to do it at school. In some ways I wouldn't mind being able to travel back in time and finally nail that run once and for all. :-) It's okay, I haven't lost my marbles. I'm definitely in the "hate PE" camp and really have no desire to go back there.

BUT what a shame that I didn't know then what I know now about health and fitness. All PE seemed to be from my angle was a bludge for those who were good at sports and a nightmare for the rest of us. Now maybe I just scored BAD PE teachers but the amount of favouritism and assumptions they made (putting people into boxes) was terrible.

I remember my first PE teacher reacting in complete surprise when we had a netball section as part of our PE program. She actually said to me "you're really good at netball for a beginner". I was tempted to slug her. I was new to the school and had just come from 3 years of playing netball both summer and winter as well as inter-school. I even played up a grade at times and my Saturday team only ever lost 1 game while our inter-school team didn't lose any! I'm not saying I was a netball star or anything - but I certainly wasn't a beginner!!!! She just made that assumption based on the fact that I wasn't a natural at all things sporty - and had a fairly obvious dislike for the subject.

Not that it's really fair to blame it all on my teachers'. After all, when you hate something with a passion like I did with PE, you don't exactly put in a great effort. And any excuse to get out of it will do. LOL. And I must have been a frustration to my PE teacher as I spent half the time unable to participate due to an injury in my wrist (which was unfortunately made a lot worse thanks to the PE teachers that ran our school camp-site who insisted I climb a rather tall tree even though one hand was bandaged and I had a note saying I wasn't to use it).

Every 6 months we had to do this fitness test which involved a timed 1.6km run, sit ups and a flexibility test. I could nail the sit-ups no worries. We were only allowed to go as far as 100 and I could do that without causing me any muscle aches the next day. No idea why as I definitely didn't practise. I just could. But the run - well let's just say I came pretty close to the back of the pack most times. And flexibility - well I certainly had none of that. Now, with doing yoga, my flexibility is HEAPS better than it was back when I was in my early teens! I used to struggle to reach my toes with my fingertips and now I can get over a handspan past - doh! It never once occured to me that doing some simple stretches at home might have assisted my flexibility a little.

So, out of curiosity, I wouldn't mind the opportunity to go back to PE now and see if things are any different. If I perform differently (with improved fitness and confidence) and if it may have changed my attitude toward, and general enjoyment of, PE.

I do wonder though, if I had been treated less like a leper by my PE teachers (perhaps that's exaggerating but I'm hoping you'll get what I mean), whether my interest in all things physical might have been sparked a little younger than 30. I feel like all I really learnt from my PE classes was that any physical activity was simply pure torture and humiliation.

How about you? Are you in the "loved PE" or "hated PE" camp? Anyone out there have a PE teacher who was actually nice to those who didn't excel in the subject? Anyone want to share any of their own PE teacher stories? LOL.

I have one more to share with you. I was involved in a youth choir during my early high school years and one day we had a big reunion of past and present members of the choir. Guess who turned up? My PE teacher! Nothing like running into your PE teacher on the weekend. LOL. She was very pleasant and friendly toward me and lo and behold, come next PE lesson, the friendliness continued. What the.....? I will admit it was nice for a change but at the same time I was completely confused. Now that we had some kind of common bond I deserved to be treated better? It just shouldn't work like that. :-( Oh well, we teach our kids that life isn't fair and I guess that's the sad truth of it.

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I would blitz that fitness test if I did have to take it today. :-)


Anonymous said...

I was in the loathe PE group too. Hated it with a passion, was embarrassed and felt humiliated every lesson. I now cycle everyday, am really quite flexible,and can jog a few kms. I still don't like team sports though, because I have this fear of letting the team down.


emma said...

I hated PE, mainly because it was forced and competitive. If PE focussed on achieving fitness and strength at your own pace doing things you enjoy (or dislike less!), then I think I'd have enjoyed it much more. I never felt like I was good at PE and I always felt that being good was important.

Kendall said...

Ugh! I'm in the "hate PE" camp. I was always a slow runner, always last in every race. Funny thing is, now that I'm 30 with 3 children I am much fitter than I ever was in my teens and much stronger physically too!

lightening said...

Nice to know I'm not alone in the "hate PE" camp. Isn't it interesting how we're all doing better fitness wise than when we were at school. Would be an interesting comparison to make. I wonder if the more "sporty" teens have maintained or improved their fitness since their school days?