Gym class was not a fun time. In retrospect, there were funny things about it, but in and of itself, it was NOT a fun time.
The first thing to know is that we had to wear “regulation” clothes: white athletic shorts, white t-shirt, white socks and white tennis shoes. While this may sound pretty restricting, there are two big things to remember. 1) Everyone, and I mean everyone, wore the same thing; and 2) there were hardly any other sports clothing options. There were no huge sports departments in stores, or sports stores even, that carried endless rows of incredible clothing. These regulation clothes were unflattering at best, usually oversized (because we were still growing kids, and mom wasn’t about to buy you more than one set per year) and completely accentuated the fact that you didn’t have any physique yet. These clothing qualities, of course, helped identify you as an easy target in such educational group games as “Dodge Ball” and “Red-Rover”.
And really, if gym class did nothing else, it was always guaranteed to give you a good dose of public humiliation in front of your peers to shoot down what little self esteem you might have! Unless you were one of the few kids who were gifted with athleticism and/or popularity, you can bet that each day in gym class was an exercise in trying to balance doing well enough to get by with not totally blowing it and becoming the laughing stock of the day. Rope climbing; calisthenics; wrestling; track… there were endless ways that you could embarrass yourself.
I ended up filling out athletically AFTER high school, so I’m always a bit of a surprise when I run into old friends. For indeed my days of gym class were that of a scrawny kid just trying to get by without looking stupid. What memories do you have of gym class??