Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why I hate Gym Class

I am taking-of all things--an online PE class. I laughed when I saw it listed as a course option too, so go right ahead and chuckle. What it means to me is that I don't have to travel back and forth to Springfield five days a week to use the school gym. It also means I'm on the honor system to do what I say I'm going to do and to report accurate results. As I am by nature an honorable sort, I didn't think this would be an issue.

This morning, by the time I finished reading the requirements, I began to rethink my honor. I have to find a test proctor, borrow a blood pressure cuff and calipers, buy a new bathroom scale, keep a food diary, chart my weight, keep an exercise log and a few other things. This is a lot more intrusive than I had counted on and I can't help but feel resentful. And of course there's that whole fear of being judged and found wanting. And what follows that? Irritation at the thought of being judged and found wanting. Following that? Angst.

As I sat there going back over the list, flashbacks came rolling in like tidal waves and anxiety came with it. Every lousy gym class I was in from middle school forward rushed up to greet me, reminding me of every failure. Calisthenics were boring and sometimes painful. I came in last (or nearly last) in most races. I was always chosen last for teams-- and usually played right field for very good reasons. One disapproving coach after another glared at me and lectured me on "trying harder" (though I was--sadly--very often doing my best). I learned to hate going to the Gym and ducked out at every opportunity.

I now know there were some very good physical (correctable) reasons for most of my limitations (other than the obvious fact that I'm no athlete). I now catch and throw passably well and can even swing a bat when necessary, thanks to good glasses. And while I have zero interest in running, I've walked and hiked for exercise for most of my adult life, thanks to corrective shoes.

So where's all this going?  I was fretting out loud to Gary about everything above--about being good enough and having to reveal so much information that I consider private.

"So construct a believable lie," he said.


"It's just PE--and it's an online class. How hard can it be to make up the stats? You're already doing the diet thing and you're exercising--so that won't be a lie. If you don't want them to have YOUR personal information don't give it to them. This isn't your doctor or your priest we're talking about. They don't have a right to any of it and the only benefit you're getting out of it is a grade. This is an instructor who you will probably never meet. I'll even help you, if you want." And he would too, though it would violate his own principles.

It was all so rational. And so helpful. And so not honorable.

No. I'll tell the truth. I just won't like it very much. 

He kissed me on the top of the head with a smile. "That's why I love you."


"You do the right thing even when no one is looking."

Thanks, says the girl who is wishing it was still as easy as sneaking off the library.


Scotty said...

Honesty is the best policy, even when it's hard, isn't it, Mary?

At the end of the day, I get more of an internal buzz from being honest than any gym class, or pat on the back from someone could give me.


Hal Johnson said...

Yeah, being honorable can really be inconvenient.

Mary O. Paddock said...

Being honest is not always easy, Scotty. But living with myself when I'm not is a lot harder.

Hal--Yes, it is. But I have to be able to sleep at night. :)

Pencil Writer said...

Hip, hip, hooray for honesty and integrity!!! You go, Mary! Since honesty is often disregarded with an off-handed shrug by way too many folks these days, stick by your guns and do what is right. There's no amount of money you can pay for integrity . . . so, never sell yourself short. Like Gary said, "you do the right thing even when no one is looking." Way to go! Keep the standard that's in rather short supply in some places these days.

Mary O. Paddock said...

I know, PW. Thanks.