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Gym Class Horrors

Gym Class Horrors

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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  1. Lisa

    I was never tortured in gym and I was definitely not the mean girl, but gym was not my thing. I’ve been “chubby” since 1st grade and am slightly uncoordinated. Anything activity involving running was an activity that I tried to avoid, and still is (although I can walk really, really fast). I find activities that I enjoy, like biking, hiking, swimming and walking. Those are things I can do.

    The organized sports comments totally fit me also. I was never good at team activities and still have no desire to participate in them. Now that I’m a mom I’ve noticed that one of my children isn’t really a team sport person (maybe that’s just a “right now” thing), so we are looking at putting him in individual sports (like Karate or Tennis). I just want my kids to be active.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I found solitary things that I like more than organized sports–swimming, running, walking, hiking. I think it’s great that you recognize the same in your son and encourage him to do other things instead!

      1. Jess

        I, too, enjoy solitary activites. If I compete against myself I can’t really loose, and I like that πŸ™‚

  2. Eve

    I wasn’t really tortured in gym class but, like you, I hated it with a passion! I would always say “I can’t take part, I have a migraine”. One time I used that line, the gym teacher (an old grey haired lady – probably not that old – but old to me at the time!) yelled at me to get changed. I was so upset and too scared to argue back, so I went in, got changed and when I came back out we had to do the high jump (you the one where you have to jump backwards over a pole?!) Of course, I couldn’t do it and jumped right into the pole! It was painful as hell! I had a bruise the size of Texas on my hip for weeks. That memory always sticks in my mind!

    Thanks for your thought-provoking posts =)

    1. Lisa Eirene

      That sounds awful! Funny how these memories stay with us YEARS later. I have a few of those memories like yours. Plus my mom made me do gymnastics as a kid. I was afraid of heights and hated everything about gymnastics. Of course I was forced to do the high bar even though I was terrified. πŸ™

  3. Erin

    I was a skinny kid when I was growing up, but I was horrible at sports and dreaded PE, too. I had to take it in sixth grade and ninth grade, and it was always boys who picked on me. They would yell at me if I missed a catch, etc. I also always got picked last for teams (I hope P.E. teachers don’t still do that horrible team captain chooses their teammates thing–I’m a teacher now, but I teach language arts.) I actually just asked my students to write about whether they would want their PE classes to be separated by gender–but that wouldn’t have helped you with Colleen. πŸ™

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I think gender segregated would have helped some of the anxiety in PE but not the bully issue.

      I hope that PE teachers are better now than they were back then.

  4. Joanna

    Two comments in one day. Who am I?

    I really related to this post. I’m all too familiar with mean girls… and mean boys. Mean kids really. I totally know what you mean about thinking you were fat when you weren’t! Isn’t it crazy how the words of those mean kids could poison your mind? When I see pictures of myself as a tween/teen I’m always blown away by how average-sized I am.

    I really just wanted to say thanks for posting on sensitive topics like these. It helps to know other people went through something similar.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I love it! Keep ’em coming. πŸ™‚

      Seeing old photos of when I was a tween/teen and seeing the reality = I WAS NOT FAT …. is quite the eye-opener. Clearly somewhere in my teens I developed a weird dysmorphic idea of what my body looked like.

  5. Sheri

    I hated gym, but I was fortunate that I didn’t have the “mean girls” in my life. I had people who made fun of me cause I was s tall, but not because of my weight.

    I was hoping you were going to say you confronted her, but your right why acknowledge her?

    I hated school and I live not more that a mile from elementary, middle school and about 5 mils from high school. I have yet to run into the kids I went to school with thank goodness!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I don’t regret not confronting her. Not just about the wasted energy on someone I hadn’t thought of for 15 years but also because I was amidst Hood to Coast. That was my priority!

  6. M iz

    lordy I could go on and ON.
    Im so very UNCOORDINATED (still am. hence the love of weights and not, say, ZUMBA :))

    gym class was NOT my friend.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Oh my god Carla! ME TOO. I tried Turbo Kick and it was a disaster. I avoid classes and sports. I am so not coordinated. πŸ™‚

  7. Carly (Swim, Run, Om)

    I was tortured in middle school. I was uber-skinny and taller than everyone in my class, including the boys. In seventh grade I began to be get boobs before any of the other girls. I also was one of those obnoxiously smart nerds, but I wouldn’t help anyone cheat, so that led to me being a target.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Yep! Me too! I was a nerd. Total book worm. I was smart and got good grades. That was also something they’d tease me about.

  8. Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes

    Ooooh, that would be SO hard for me to run into someone like that who was mean to me as a teenager… and I was one of those people who was made fun of a lot, so there’s a large pool of people that we’re talking about here πŸ™‚ Sounds like you handled it well, though — no need to fake friendliness, right? I mean, as you said, you were there at the top of your game, and why engage someone who was so nasty to you?

    Our PE classes in this country need help…

    1. Lisa Eirene

      If I was in charge of PE I’d make it fun for kids. Just let them run around and play. That’s exercise too. Even for teens. Have obstacle courses, let them run a track, badminton. It doesn’t matter what, as long as they are moving around but without the ugly teasing and pressure of organized sports.

  9. Christi

    I was brutalized in grade school and middle school p.e. class. Not so much by the other students as I was by the p.e. teacher. Not only was I a fat kid, I was also much taller than my classmates. By the time I was in the 5th grade I was at my full adult height of 5’8″. I remember this teacher laughing and pointing at me. Looking back now, I don’t see why she would do this. Even being big, I was the fastest sprinter (never had the stamina for distance), and I played baseball better than most boys in my class. I could hit the ball further, and because of my size was able to steal bases easily.
    This teacher brutalized, and at times even encouraged the other students to do so as well, me so much that by the time I reached high school I refused to even go into the gym. Luckily the school I attended would allow me to sub marching band for p.e. credits.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      The teacher teased you?? That is just AWFUL. What a horrible person.

  10. Carbzilla

    Fifth Grade. Mrs Rattray. Enough said.

    It seems, from the comments, that no one was comfortable in gym except maybe the super jock-y kids (we had a couple). I can still picture the navy blue shorts with white trim they made us buy. I had short legs, big thighs, and absolutely no muscle definition. Mortifying. But I wasn’t really chubby (yet), just uncoordinated. Mostly, it just seems like teachers were clueless about how such a class could affect their students’ self-esteem, and that there were other factors at play when we couldn’t get up the rope (omg, how I hated that rope). I think I’ve already said that I did fine in gymnastics, and that was definitely the only gym class I looked forward to.

    I cannot believe you ran into Colleen. Way to handle it. I went to a really small school so there wasn’t much bullying, but I’d been bullied in our neighborhood and know the feeling of being afraid quite well. We only had one really mean girl in our class, and now I wish I’d paid more attention because I’m still clueless when faced with the grown-up versions of mean kids.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      There were a couple means girls in my life as a teen. I honestly don’t remember (or think about) them that much. Leaving Seattle, changing my life, and just generally distancing me from my past helped.

      Oh man the shorts! I was SO self-conscious about my thighs (still am).

  11. Jennifer

    I was chubby while growing up, and more often than I would’ve liked, I was also the “new girl” because my dad was in the Air Force and we moved a lot. Made for a tough time growing up. I inevitably, every time I moved, made friends with the Mean Girls first, not realizing they were mean. Then, I’d find my true friends when the Mean Girls were revealed for who they really were: Girls who were interested in the new girl, but really wanting a new target. Gym class sucked for me, too, because I wasn’t very athletic at all. I felt better about it in high school when I played volleyball on the school team. Somehow gym seemed tolerable then. But I, too, want to shield my children from that feeling of not being athletic and not being accepted!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I can imagine that moving around a lot made it all much more difficult! Thank you for sharing your story Jennifer. πŸ™‚

  12. Jess

    I HATED PE. I with a passion. I would ‘forget’ my gear, have my period, have a doctors note or a note from home, anything to not do PE. I am now training to be a teacher and I have worked out why PE didn’t work for me. It is because PE teachers assume that anyone can do PE. And while that is true to a point, there are different ablility levels, just like any other subject. I think PE should be grouped, just like english and maths. Also not enough time was spent on gaining a skill, you were just expected to do it.

    As a teacher PE is my favourite subject to teach, by far. I want to make PE enjoyable for all children, not just the sporty ones. Teasing and bullying is closely monitored for and anyone bullying isn’t welcome in the lesson. I spend a lot of time on the basics and will group children who get it right away together to go off and practice their skills while I work with the children who need more help. I also try and mix it up as much as possible to make it fun for the kids. And the most important thing of all; I join in. It is amazing how much fun the kids have when the teacher joins in. You are no longer the mean person telling them to do sport, you are walking your talk and getting in there too, and kids respect that.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      You hated PE and then became a teacher as an adult? That’s a pretty cool story. I like the PE groups idea. I think it would be successful and take the pressure off social awkward kids who are shy and DO NOT want to do organized sports with jocks.

  13. Jessica A

    The only part of gym class that I disliked was the locker room. From grades six through twelve we had to shower after each and every gym class unless it was your time of the month. The showers were completely out in the open in front of everyone in the girls locker room. When we were done showering we had to walk naked up to the teacher who would then checkoff our names that we had showered, and she would then hand us a towel. A lot of the girls who had the “better” bodies would strut around naked longer than was necessary, and make the rest of us feel worse about ourselves. I hate to stereotype anyone, but there were a few cheerleaders that were total exhibitionists.

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