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Friday, January 07, 2005 :::

The Hazards of Athleticism

Ninth grade gym class was the worst experience of my entire life. Sure, it was nearly 15 years ago, but every single day was a new level of humiliation for dan, so it still hurts my tummy to think about it. I was usually the source of entertainment for the cruel kids, so if they weren't verbally abusing me it was because they were too busy aiming projectiles at me. One day I took a pickle ball in the face so hard that you could see the holes from the whiffle ball indented on my cheek. My gym teacher was a prick and laughed along with all the other kids when it happened and then he openly mocked me when I asked to go to the nurse to treat the swelling. Anyway, that dude got fired for snorting coke and "dating" the highschool chicks, so all's well that ends well.

So this picture triggers some pretty bad sense memories for me, but it's still totally awesome, and now I can see why the other kids all laughed at me. Gotta admit, it's pretty funny. Especially the way his awkward hands are totally not in the right place for defending himself, but rather they are flailing helplessly, which I'm pretty sure is a pose I often made myself in ninth grade gym class. I feel for the guy, whoever he is:

Click for larger because it's so much better. My face stings just looking at it. [FP]

::: posted by dan at 5:56 PM :: [ link ] :: (23) comments Social Bookmark Button

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23 previous comments:

Its about time you start to see the humor in this kind of stuff. Yes, so mean. But funny! Please!! More stories about your high school torture.

By Blogger hot babe, at 3:03 PM  

If you look closely, it's not the geek that didn't catch it - it's the geek that couldn't kick it. He isn't even wearing sneakers to gym class!

By Blogger NYmommy, at 4:21 PM  

At least you have the satisfaction of knowing that your pain and suffering offers entertainment to tens of complete strangers every day. (Love your blog, btw.)

By Blogger Twinkie, at 8:21 PM  

Yeah, gotta say that none of these three look like the epitome of athletic prowess. What game is this anyway?

Don't worry about the PE embarrassment. My most active moment in gym came in 6th grade. We changed in back of the auditorium stage. And in a completely out-of- character moment for a girl who rarely said much or tried to exist much, I got up on a box in back of the stage and decided to swing from one of the excess curtains that hung back there.

The swinging was fine. I weighed all of 62 pounds.

But I couldn't make it back to the box properly to disengage and instead -- in a moment of terror -- let go and fell on my back and scrawny ass, knocking the wind out of me. Like I said, I didn't talk much so I was lucky anyone even noticed that something was wrong and called in our Schwartzenegger-wannabe PE teacher Mr. Al Klienits who just blew his whistle in my face until I began to move again.

Oh, and I got a 'D' in badminton in high school. After getting a detention for faking a seizure when hit with a shuttlecock.

By Blogger imp (Iva-Marie Palmer), at 12:24 AM  

ah, reminds me of the time i kicked a piece of foam lying on a muddy field and it turned out to be a brick... :)

By Blogger clara, at 3:14 AM  

Yuk. I didn't really mind PE, I guess...In 3rd grade I did pass out, though, because of holding my breath. I fell into a big pile of balls. Hmmm...Then, also in third grade I told my teacher to shut up during gym class. By 8th grade, I was hiding in the weeds smoking with Jill Johnson instead of playing golf. We would also wander the halls and steal people's lunch money from their lockers. I went to PE 4 times in 8th grade. I think the teacher was glad we skipped.

By Blogger Kiddo78, at 9:53 AM  

These are my favorite parts of this post:

1) Jazz hands on the wussie guy in the photo.

2) Imp's story. It is very Vilivand-esque. Oh how I loved you Vilivand and your wall of hair and bleacher scaling abilities...

3) Shuttlecock. Heh heh.

By Blogger brent, at 12:46 PM  

Looks like a perfectly legit face-save to me. Whatever you have to do to defend your net.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:13 PM  

Anyone notice that Jazz hands (LOVE this moniker for him, btw) has no socks on, but oddly has a farmer tan sockline? Why do you think he chose to skip the socks for P.E., but obviously wears socks for non-P.E. events? Hmmm...

Oh, and Dan, don't feel too bad. I used to run the laps at the beginning of class and wait until teach wasn't looking and run straight out the door. That way, I was counted in attendance for sitting in my "squad", but didn't actually have to participate. I was the master class skipper.

By Blogger MommyT, at 2:27 PM  

I've taken at least 5 volleyballs to the almost breaking a pair of glasses. Almost all of them hit me when I was just walking in the gym, not even playing the game. I feel your pain.

By Blogger Biglug, at 3:03 PM  

Sigh - gym memories. Most of my gym memories have been repressed for years. In fact, I don't think I have a GOOD gym memory. I was a very overweight, unathletic adolescent. Maybe the time we got to go bowling. That was OK.
Bad memories:
Having to play racquetball with the class bully. We weren't really "playing." He was just trying to hurt me with that hard little blue ball. Imagine me cowering in the corner of that tiny little room...
Slipping and falling on my way to the shower one day in junior high. My gym teacher was convinced someone had tripped me so he yelled at everyone while I stood there naked, fat, and "underdeveloped"...
Being the only guy who couldn't do a pull-up during the physical education test...(why did girls always get to do the "hang" while guys had to do actual pull-ups? Totally sexist - most girls I know could kick my ass!)
The absolute worst, though, was mile day. I would always end up walking at least half of it with the worst side ache ever. My best friend Gary would come in under 7 minutes. I was more of the 12-13 minute variety. Pathetic.
But everything ends on a good note - I went to my 10-year reunion in 2003 and was looking quite fetching, while most of the jocks haven't aged quite as well. Heh heh. Suckers.

By Blogger denverboy, at 3:16 PM  

1st- oh, Vilavand, how I too miss you. Thanks for the memories, Brent.

2nd- deverboy, that quite possibly is the funniest thing I've read in a while- mostly because I know its all true with no embellishments & I love laughing at other peoples' pain.

3rd- I could never do pull-ups but was forced to try in more grade than one. I couldn't even hang there for more than a second or two. I still have self-esteem issues thanks to those torturous moments.

And 4th- I hated the trampoline days in gym class while everyone else *loved* them. I hated that when I jumped it only made my fat jiggle. I also had a fear that I would break the trampoline & fall through. I couldn't imagine ever living that one down.

By Blogger hot babe, at 4:20 PM  

Oh hotbabe - I was touched by your trampoline story. I can't help but remember how I was always so traumatized on scoliosis testing day. I had to take off my shirt, bend over to touch my toes, and expose my rolls and rolls of gut fat to my whole class.
It's funny how horrible those things seem at the time...actually, it was really horrible. Time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds!

By Blogger denverboy, at 5:04 PM  

Thanks Brent for the compliment.

Now who is this Vilivand....?

By Blogger imp (Iva-Marie Palmer), at 5:15 PM  

Even though I grew up in Northern California, we still had to square dance every year in gym class when it was raining out. Now there's a useful skill. I should put on my resume, "Am proficient at 'do see do' and 'box the gnat'."

By Blogger tcarole, at 5:19 PM  

Oh man, I forgot the square dancing.... I only got picked by this guy Feras who had warts covering his hands.

But I do a hell of a do-si-do....

By Blogger imp (Iva-Marie Palmer), at 5:24 PM  

Vilivand was a mysterious exotic classmate from highschool who one day became a legend when she out-of-the-blue decided to scale the retracted bleachers in gym class, straight up to the gym balcony. I think it may be an urban legend, but it's still fun to imagine. Especially since she kinda looked like a siamese cat.

By Blogger dan, at 7:32 PM  

So I'm guessing we're all in the "Last to be picked for a team in gym class" club. Gym had to be the worst and I can't imagine, with all the horrible gym class stories, who actually enjoyed gym class. But I can't stop laughing at the "jazz hands". I think the guy was actually the "Big ole dumb bully too cool to where socks, thinking he was all that, sucking it in the face jock" myself. I think Dan should duplicate the geek take all our pictures, morph them onto the geek and make all of us feel as though justice has been served. If nothing else, carma, as I'm hoping this is the son of one of the stupid jocks who always kicked the ball in my face, that I went to school with.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:34 PM  

Oh man. I remember one time in gym class when I couldn't get the stupid mesh jersy on for basketball. It was the end of year competition between the 5th and 6th grade classes, and I made an ass of myself. The entire 5th and 6th grade classes were watching me struggle with this mesh mess - I was putting my head through the arm holes, arms through the bottom. They were all laughing at me! WHAAA!

By Blogger Robert, at 7:20 AM  

Okay - here's one for you. When I was in 8th grade, I sometimes wore my hair in ponytails, which were fastened with those things with a plastic ball on either end, which we called bobbles (also known as hair toys, bungies, etc.) Let me preface this by saying that I was very skinny and unathletic, and volleyball always made my arms all red and sore. Okay, So - it's volleyball time - and this guy Grant (who I ran into in an elevator here in Mpls. onetime about three years ago - even though we grew up in SoDak) was the crush-of-the-month. He was on the opposing team. So I turn to bump the ball over the net, and my head hits the net, and my bobbles get stuck in the threads. I actually succeed in bumping the ball over the net, so play continues, but I am caught in the net, like a bobble-headed fish, and cannot free myself. So, play must stop, while they extricate me, and my hairdo, from the net. OH the humiliation. Did I mention, that somehow through the vagaries of fate, one of the guys on my team who tried to free me was this guy Charles, who tried to grope me in the planetarium? Eekkk!!!!

By Blogger elsimom, at 8:41 AM  

Hey Dan, Thanks for the info. Now I feel compelled to meet this Vilivand. (I think, though, that climbing bleachers in their retracted state would be far better than walking up them when they're ... would it be contracted? I always freaked that I'd fall through the gap and then be lying unconscious beneath them when they pushed them back into the wall, leaving me for dead as they crushed me.

Needless to say, I didn't get invited to many athletic events. (But my high school's teams sucked, though the jocks would never admit such.)

By Blogger imp (Iva-Marie Palmer), at 8:58 AM  

I remember 7th grade gym class and BASEBALL. Ugh...the torture. Anyway, one day a pop fly came my way and I caught it bare-handed using only one hand. Impressive, no? NO! The bully of the class yelled to our gym teacher, "Look Mr. No-neck...even the GEEKS can catch!" Humiliating... Granted, I was wearing a wrinkled "Garfield" shirt at the time, but still...
Last time I was home for a visit, I noticed Mr. Bully pumping gas at the local Sunoco. Looks like the geeks can get an education and a career too, eh? What an as*hole!

By Blogger Will, at 3:08 PM  

It wasn’t so much my lack of athleticism that scarred me for life, it was the inability to dress myself. My first day of ninth grade public school, I had been to Catholic school for the eight years proceeding so I had zero friends, I changed for gym and followed the class down to the wrestling room to learn about all the fun things we would be doing that year, when I looked down, I noticed that the little square pocket that usually sits on my left buttock was now at my right hip. Yeah, I put my pants on backwards, but the embarrassing part is that I put my hand in the pocket so people would think that I had done it on purpose.

Or maybe the embarrassing part is that I was wearing pink banded bottom sweatpants with a pocket on the back to gym class.

Thank Mom for buying me really cool things.

By Blogger Kristina, at 1:50 PM  

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