An F in Phys Ed

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week is whether you played sports as a child and if so, to share a memorable game. I never played sports outside of school. That is, I attended one gymnastics class with my sister and a friend of hers at around age eight. I didn’t enjoy it one bit, despite normally liking gymnastics in physical education classes.

I was, to put it plainly, horrible at sports. Any sports. While gymnastics was my favorite part of physical education, it was more because I hated team sports and athletics even more.

At the school for the blind I attended for grades four to six, I was always picked last. Not just because of my lack of athletic capacity, but also because I was the only girl in my class. I don’t blame my classmates though.

When I attended mainstream high school, my phys ed teacher was also my tutor. He was great at accommodating me up to a point. For example, he let me run with a buddy. Of course, I was the slowest runner of the entire class. Looking back, I like to blame my mild cerebral palsy, but I still struggle to figure out what is due to that and what is simply due to my being fat. Not that I was fat at the time, but I wasn’t skinny either.

In my second year in this school, I hadn’t had any failing grades until sometime in February. My classmates complained that I got it easier than them, because for example I’d get extra time on tests. Whether this motivated my phys ed teacher or not, I’ll never know. We had to do gymnastics, a particular swing on the rings. I couldn’t really see what everyone else did, but I tried my best. And failed. My teacher explained to my father that I might’ve done the best I could, but he couldn’t possibly justify giving me a passing grade.

Like I said, he was my tutor. He almost took pride in being the first to give me a failing grade that year. Except that he wasn’t. That same week, I’d gotten an F in Greek too. That one was definitely justified, as at the time I didn’t face any barriers to learning basic Greek that my classmates didn’t.

From the next year on, I started going to a gym instead of following regular PE classes. I, after all, would never be able to attain the level of physical ability required for higher secondary school sports. I continued to attend the gym regularly throughout high school and for the first several years after.

Mama’s Losin’ It

15 thoughts on “An F in Phys Ed

    1. Oh, I understand. I didn’t really care for sports on TV because I can’t see the screen, but sports on the radio were sometimes fun to listen to.

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  1. I’m not keen on sports, either. I was stunned to read your grades were effected by your ability to swing on the rings. Especially because of your vision problem.

    You mentioned listening to sports on the radio. I love old radio shows. They are filled with excitement and tension.

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    1. Well, I guess my teacher did make sure this one F wouldn’t affect my overall GPA or anything. Like I said, I attended mainstream education and my peers were complaining about the accommodations I received. I guess the teacher felt pressured to prove them wrong.

      As for radio shows, I don’t listen to them much anymore, but used to love listening to the radio.

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  2. I attended a parochial school for eight years and there wasn’t any type of phys ed; the school had a gym where, once weekly, the nuns would let the girls walk around or maybe throw a basketball. Once I hit high school, it was more of the same, more nuns, more throwing a basketball around. I left that parochial high school to attend our local public one and finally learned what went on in a school gym…and it started with those awful rings and ropes. Well, awful to me because I was a complete failure in that part of the gym procedures. If it hadn’t been for volleyball, and running, I probably would have failed.

    To this day, I still look back and cringe…at those damn rings.

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    1. Oh, I feel for you. Not having gotten any proper phys ed in elementary school or junior high must have put you at a disadvantage. I can totally see why the rings make you cringe.

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  3. I can see how PE and sports could give people anxiety if it’s not something they enjoy. Competition can feel intense even for people who like sports. It doesn’t seem like something that is fair to grade kids on.

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