What kids do in gym class...
posted at 1/22/2008 7:42 AM EST
Back in the 70s and early 80s, my school had co-ed gym classes. Unfortunately, my grade had some fairly violent, ADHD-type boys, so when we played games like bombardment, it was pretty scary for the less-athletic kids (like me!). We also played volleyball, kickball, softball, flag football, crab soccer, floor hockey, and basketball, and we did gymnastics. Oh, and we had horrible, splintery ropes that we were occasionally forced to climb (not that I got more than a foot or so off the floor). I enjoyed crab soccer and floor hockey, and that was about it. Otherwise, I was often one of the last kids picked, which wasn't much fun. By the time I was a junior, though, the gym teacher let us girls go for walks/jogs in the neighborhood while the boys lifted weights. I much preferred to do noncompetitive activities such as walking--at least I wasn't humiliated by being picked last!!
My younger sister and her friends were allowed to bring in Jane Fonda workout videos and do them during gym class. As a similarly less-athletic type, she was pretty happy about that!
The funny thing is that when I hit my 30s, I ended up becoming a runner, and then I also played indoor women's soccer for several years. Perhaps if the school had emphasized more individual athletic activities, rather than making kids feel like failures if they weren't good team players, I would have gotten a lot more out of gym class.
My daughter is a freshman now, and her gym classes (sorry, PE classes!) involve volleyball, kickball, lacrosse, floor hockey, indoor rock-climbing, soccer, softball, etc. I think they might be doing some ice skating later this year, as her school has an ice rink. She seems to like PE more than I did, at least.