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I Have A Teacher To Thank For My Proudest Moment As A Kid

I loved P.E. class as a kid, even more than recess. While both meant we could go outside and play, I liked P.E. much more because it required everyone to play together.

That was cool.

Because recess usually left me adrift, watching the other kids swim to their islands of friends, where they played games I wasn’t invited to join. But P.E. class not only let me in on all the action, there I suddenly became popular, even a bit cool!

No longer the girl who was always saying the wrong thing and wearing the wrong clothes, I was now the girl everyone wanted on their team because I could run fast and was good at throwing, kicking and hitting balls.

But perhaps the coolest thing about P.E. is not how it made me feel like I finally belonged with the other kids, but how one teacher made me feel. My proudest moment as a kid was in P.E., and I think now it was all due to the kindness of a teacher who knew how much I wanted to earn my Presidential Physical Fitness Award badge.

Every year I tried, and every year I failed because of one darn thing, the pull-up, while everything else I completed nearly effortlessly:

Cardiovascular: You had to run a certain distance within a certain time. Done, super easy for me.

Flexibility: With your legs in a V, you had to reach your arms a certain length. Done, easy for me.

Core strength: You had to do a certain amount of sit-ups within a certain amount of time. Done, pretty easy for me.

Upper-body strength: As a girl, I only had to complete just one pull-up, but I never could. So every year, I did everything but the pull-up. And every year, I didn’t get my badge.

Until one year, my P.E. teacher told me the rules had changed: Girls could push off with their foot at the beginning, then pull themselves up the rest of the way. Done! Finally, I earned my badge.

Only now do I realize that it’s very likely the rules hadn’t changed at all. That my teacher just felt sorry for me and thought of a way that he could give me my badge, yet still have me feel like I earned it. And if that is true, that’s even cooler.

Because that never occurred to me at the time. I was just so dang happy to get my badge, and was convinced for decades that I earned it fair and square.

That was super cool.

P.S. If anyone reading this happened to teach physical education in Rio Del Mar around 1980, thank you very much!

One Comment

  1. jetfuel December 6, 2022

    The War on Women.
    The Tulsi Gabbard Show. Podcast.
    Title IX

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