Wednesday, May 21, 2008
When Telling Lies Ruins Your Summer
As I mentioned before, I am a reformed exerciser.
Prior to a few years ago, I hated anything athletic.
I didn't even own tennis shoes until three years ago.
I despised them.
I hated wearing them.
And why should I wear them?
When I sported tennis shoes, I felt like it was false advertisement.
My shoes were telling lies.
I felt like people looked at me and thought, "She's sporty."
I had a hurt back and my doctor made me wear tennis shoes.
For an athletic hater like myself, PE in junior high was like a recurring bad dream.
I can't flashback to that horrible time of my life too thoroughly or I start to feel sick to my stomach.
The smell of that locker room. Did they wash the uniforms in sweat?
The stupid lockers themselves.
My lady coaches and their mullets.
Spending all year debating with my friends if our lady coach was in fact a lady. You could argue either way. We were constantly looking at her from different angles trying to catch some glimpse of boobs. We were on constant look out for any change in the terrain.
It was not uncommon for a friend to walk by and say, in passing, "I saw coach from the side today and she was reaching up for some shirts on the top shelf...and I saw some things that may have been boobs."
And what about changing in front of everyone...
Doesn't that bring back fond memories?
And let's not forget when they make you take off your shirt and bend over so that they can see if your spine is crooked. I told my coach I felt like Anne Frank. She wasn't impressed.
The coaches were looking for crooked backs.
The girls were looking to see which of their classmates needed real bras, no bras or training bras.
That day was particularly horrible because if you wore a bra, you could keep it on. If you didn't, then...well...
I was always jealous of the girls with real-life bras and their real-life need for one.
I was never one of those girls.
But on "Bend over and check your back" day I set my training bra aside and wore my mom's instead.
Imagine a boy wearing a bra...or wearing a bra on your back. That's what it looked like.
One of the poopiest parts of PE was that they make you get all hot and sweaty then give you a whole 6 minutes to morph yourself from athlete to student.
But, the all time worst thing about PE was...
Swimming at school?
Who wants to cry remembering this?
I always imagined the school board meeting.
Some man in a suit stands up and says...
"Everyone put on your thinking caps. We need ideas...ideas to make these gangly, hormone freaked out, pimply cheeked, braced faced students feel even worse about themselves."
Some lady at the table with yellow pencil buttons on her denim shirt raises her hand...
"Oh...I know. Let's make them swim."
Everyone groans with delight.
"And not just with children the same sex. Oh no. That would merely be awful. What would scar them for life would be...boys and girls swimming together."
Everyone at the table claps and straightens their devil horn headbands.
I hated swimming.
I hated other girls seeing me in a swim suit.
I always felt ugly and fat.
But the main reason I hated swimming was because after you swam, you still got 6 minutes to turn back into a normal looking person.
This was the late 80's/early 90's.
No one could get their hair dry and teased in 6 minutes.
I have always had high maintenance hair.
It does nothing good on its own.
My hair requires a lot of attention.
It only has two modes.
Either it looks good because I spent a lot of time on it.
Or, it looks like I'm running for Ms. White Trash.
I only have two choices.
When you only have 3 minutes to give to your hair...it's a no-brainer. Just hand me my sash that says Ms. White Trash.
When we first started swimming, it was just us...just girls.
But one day, I walked out of the door from the locker room into the pool area and what did I see?
Boys in the pool.
Boys my age.
For a minute there I thought I was having a nightmare.
I wanted to melt into my towel.
That's when something brilliant hit me...
A way out...
A way to stick it to the man lady.
You see...I was not always a Baptist. I was raised Church of God. They believe girls and boys can't swim together. It's called mixed bathing.
That's a big no-no in that denomination.
So...I was raised Church of God, I knew the rule...but let me mention here that I spent every summer of my entire life at the public swimming pool in our town. I knew the rule, but that wasn't something our family thought was important, obviously, judging by our tan skin in the summers.
Once I saw the boys in the pool, I said to my friend, Jessica...
"I've got it. I can say I'm pentecostal and that it's against my religion to mix bathe."
Surprisingly, Jessica said, "I want to be pentecostal too."
So the two of us went up to the coach and said...
"We're pentecostal and it's against our religion to mix bathe with boys."
The coach didn't really know what to say, but holy cow...she believed us.
We got to leave the room...go put our gym clothes on...and then run laps in the gym.
We didn't really run laps though. We just walked.
What a victory...
We beat the system.
We found the way out.
My hair was still 4 ft. tall.
We were so proud of ourselves.
And besides, Jessica was Jehovah's Witness. I was giddy with excitement about all the things we could make up about that religion. Next year, when we got a new coach, I had already decided I was going to be Jehovah's Witness. "We can't run...it's against our religion. We have to have 12 minutes to get ready and do our ceremonial getting ready routines or we will go to hell. You wouldn't want that coach." Oh..this was going to be great.
So that year...because we were pentecostal, instead of swimming almost every day, we only had to swim a couple times a week, when for some reason the boy class was not in the pool.
Until summer came.
My mom bought our pool passes.
It was time to set up residence at the public pool once again, getting tan, eating snow cones...
I walked in the first day, so excited about summer.
And who did I see?
She was working as a life guard at the pool that summer.
That day I learned two things...
1. Your sins will find you out.
2. And our coach really was a woman. I saw her in a bathing suit.
I want to hear your PE horror stories! I'm sure we all have them!