This post was inspired by Ms Lori’s post
(and its follow up
) I have had trouble commenting over there (surprise surprise it’s a blogspot address) Mind you this is probably way too long for a comment anyway. So here goes.....
I have a rebellious body. Whatever my mind tells it to do you can bet your life my body will do the complete opposite. For instance my mind will say ‘Would you mind walking though this door? It’s not difficult.’ And what will happen is my shoulder will bang against the door frame, which will then set me off balance and bang my other shoulder on the other side, then my sleeve will wind itself round the door handle and my body will be sent sprawling to the ground in the most unflattering helpless position ever. In retaliation my mind will then send a torrent of expletives to my body, via my mouth, which will come out as an unintelligible garble.
Yes I’m clumsy, in fact I am possibly the most clumsy person I know. Couple this with the fact that I have never been able to follow or understand rules and I bet you can tell already that PE classes were the bane of my life.
I’ve had a few PE teachers in my life and they all share the same trait, namely that they cannot understand that some people do not appreciate baring their bodies to the elements while they aimlessly chase around after a pathetic sphere of some sort, whilst others point, stare laugh and then beat them up in the changing rooms afterwards for ‘letting the team down.’
Any so called teacher who can choose the two best players and let them pick their team one by one until only one person is left standing humiliated and dejected (guess who) Any teacher who watches as the team leaders squabble over that person (for she is a person, it seems to have escaped everyone’s notice) and turns a blind eye when they bully her; any teacher who can stand there as all this goes on, should be had up for child abuse.
My first PE teacher in secondary school was the worst of all of them, she used to strut around in a nice warm tracksuit, whilst we where made to wear those revolting pleated skirts and aertex blouses, and if we were ever to claim that we were cold, she took it as evidence that we were not working hard enough. You know me I do like to retain anonymity in my blog, especially for those who do not choose to be here, but my PE teacher’s name was so Dickensian and she did make my life hell, and I’m sorely tempted to let on, ok you’ve persuaded me, her name was Mrs Cowley, and I swear to God I’m not making that up.
Once during one of our typical British summers we were supposed to be learning how to do hurdles for the first time. The athletics track resembled the Glastonbury festival site on the last Monday in June, without the litter. Even the most athletic of students were begging not to go out in the torrential downpour, but of course PE teachers get some sort of commission for every lesson held outside. We were going out whether we liked it or not.
Now the school only owned enough hurdles for us to have a go one at a time and Mrs Cowley made us line up one by one, but no one was volunteering to go first. So naturally, seeing the picture of pure unadulterated fear on my face, Mrs Cowley nominated my good self for the task. Now I don’t make a habit of begging but faced with what was obviously about to be the most embarrassing humiliation of my life, I gathered a little bit of begging wouldn’t go amiss.
‘But I’ve never done it before.’
‘It’s easy. You just run and leap!’
‘But if someone else could go first and show me how it is done?’
‘Just do it!’ (This PE teacher is brought to you by Nike)
So I stood for a while staring at what might as well have been a row of Eiffel Towers looming ahead of me, there was no way I was going to get over them. There was an eerie silence as even the worst bullies couldn’t even muster a snigger, they too felt my fear.
It felt like slow motion as step by step, slosh by slosh I plodded up to that first hurdle, the closer I got the higher it towered. Now it was getting to the time when I was going to have to leap but as I did I hit a skid patch, my legs gave way, my hands flew out to save me and I landed face down, in a twisted mess of human, hurdle and mud.
For a second I was paralysed with shock but then slowly as the pain shot up my ankle, I knew that even the most sadistic PE teacher couldn’t make me carry on! I’d got out of it! Then I began to shake with laughter albeit a rather hysterical laughter, all that fear, humiliation and relief rolled into one! It was over! Thank God it was over!
I had my back to everyone but I was informed later that for a split second Mrs Cowley’s face rivalled that of mine in the fear department, as she saw all the potential lawsuits piling up on her, the loss of a job even? As she came up behind me, she was actually pleasant and tried to sweeten me up by putting my arm around me. When she realised that I was laughing rather than crying and that somehow, by some pure miracle my ankle was only twisted, not broken and even the hurdle was reparable, the relief for her too must have been great. She even agreed to let us go inside after that and for the rest of the lesson, she was actually kind to me. I was flavour of the moment in my class too, for I had got them out of PE. I had my afternoon of glory.
It was all back to normal though the following day.