Physical education

In grade school PE we were forced to do chin-ups in front of the rest of the class

and some boys could barely do one, and were laughed at and teased, called pussies and worse.

But there were others, quiet kids from broken homes, who did many with perfect form

and dropped down when they were done with an icy glare,

having shown for the first time what they were made of.

While the other kids who struggled had to learn it was much more than that, the physical education,

and to prove it to the rest of the world,

the greater depths of grit that lift you up.

Categories: poetry, writing

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24 replies

  1. The results from the Canada Fitness Award Program were our measure of grit – 50 yard run, 300 yard run, flexed arm hangs, shuttle run, speed sit ups, and standing long jump – the results led to pins (participation, bronze, silver, gold, excellence); bronze protected you from ridicule, gold allowed you to walk with your head high and excellence allowed you to strut.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God knows why being a Choirboy at my Primary school conferred some status and that made us immune from bullies, including the PE teacher. (I joined at 7). Most of us were fit little monkeys anyway, climbing the scaffolding of the huge new church after practices and services while we waited for my Dad to finish yacking. That man could talk.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We were little shockers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was one of those boys who could barely do one. That’s my sad story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I, too, was unable to pull up and I couldn’t climb that fucking rope either. As an adult I became rather athletic and lifted weights all the time. But even at my most fit, when I could do 50 dips at a time, I could barely do 6 pullups. Some bodies aren’t made for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aaargh! I marched in the band in the Texas heat in a wool uniform – no problem. Then one day they asked all highschoolers to run a lap around the football field to assess our fitness. I couldn’t run. I still can’t/don’t run. My legs were conditioned to lifting knees HIGH (old style marching bands) and I’d never needed to run away from anything. I did my best attempted-running a short ways, noticed everyone else far ahead of me, and quit trying – walked the rest of the way – exasperating the coaches waiting to start the next batch running till I got back to start. That day was definitely physical education – I learned something about my body!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good bad story Jazz! Gosh I don’t know what to think of those times, though now it seems working out is a new kind of therapy. Funny that! Thanks for sharing this story of running in wool, ack!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What about “arm hangs?” Ever have to do those? I did, but couldn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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