Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Girl's PE

In the early 60’s America was all about fitness.  It was mandated by the President that all kids take a physical education class and I was no exception.  However, I really, really, didn’t want to take this class.  Not because I didn’t want my hair to get messed up but because I was really, really uncoordinated.  I had never been good at any kind of sport and was actually told by my softball coach to, “Just let the ball hit you”.  I was no fool, I knew my limitations and I respected them.

But, the President’s fitness program now required all of us to take physical education so, myself along with all the other 7th grade girls in my junior high purchased our gym clothes and gym shoes and showed up for P.E.  There were so many things I hated about PE starting with the mandatory blue jumpsuit that depending on your stage of puberty either made you look like a pinup girl or a drowned rat.  But the absolute worse thing about PE was the communal shower. There was a lot of peer pressure in the girl's locker room -- you knew who wore a bra, who did not, and who was well endowed.  I remember trying to hold a towel up in front of myself with one hand while showering with the other.  Maintaining modesty in the 7th grade locker room was almost impossible but I gave it my best effort.

Puberty had been good to me and I filled out my gym jumper like a WW II pin-up girl with adolescent acne.  I had assets that I later learned to appreciate but were not so appreciated in the 7th grade shower stalls.  I just wanted to blend in unnoticed but with my curvy 36 B chest it just wasn’t happening.

As if my physical attributes weren’t enough I was a total clutz on the gym floor.  I had never played sports and certainly didn’t know the first thing about dribbling a ball down a basketball court.  By the time the 1st six weeks of school came to a close I had been injured more times than anyone else in the entire 7th grade girl’s gym classes.  Fearing permanent disability those in charge called my mother and suggested I be removed from P.E. for my own safety.  I never took another P.E. class until college and by then my 36B chest was unremarkable.


Betty said...

Ah, the good old days! We had to be tested to see which PE class to be put in - so we ran an obstacle course and climb a rope (I couldn't climb it) and then we had to vault over a pommel horse (I landed astride it). Then, I, too went home and asked my mother to call the doctor ad have him write me an excuse, saying PE aggravated my asthma. I ended up in health class, bored but happy.

Olga said...

That is so funny--excused from PE for your own safety. My daughter tried to get me to call her school and tell them PE was against our religion. Too bad she wasn't a bit clutsier.

Arkansas Patti said...

I'd have killed for a 36B. I was good at sports though so it was a favorite class if you didn't count showers.

MerCyn said...

I can sympathize totally. Except our uniforms were the most hideous yellowish color ever created. I avoided the showers as much as possible.

Judy (kenju) said...

I would have killed for that measurement too! I was just as uncoordinated as you and I hated all sports except badminton. In the showers, I hung back until everyone else was done and then I gave it a lick or a miss and was always late to class afterward. I hated every minute of gym.

Muffy's Marks said...

You lucky bugger, got out of PE. I hated 'gym' class as much as you did. I was always the last one to complete anything!!! Great post about the 'olden' days!!

Anonymous said...

Oh how I remember (And dreaded) the P.E. showers!

We didn't have the luxury of shower stalls. The showers were completely out in the open. They were known as "shower trees" and had six shower heads per poll, and you were always facing other girls as you showered.

We had mandatory P.E classes from grades 7 through 11.

Some days the teacher would stand there and watch us as we showered, and some days she would have one of the 12th grade girls stand there and watch to make sure that we showered.

Some of us were very shy, and tried to be quick in the showers, but if we didn't spend at least five minutes in the shower we were sent back to the showers. Some of the girls seemed to revel in the opportunity to flaunt their nude bodies around each other.

The whole experience was very awkward to say the least.

Elizabeth H