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Wasted Youth

If memory serves I had a physical education class every year in grade school and high school. I was usually the last one picked for teams, which bothered me mostly because we all knew I’d be picked last but it still took a long time to get through all the other loser kids getting picked at the same time. It didn’t really matter, the truth was I wasn’t any good at it, didn’t matter what it was i sucked. The other kids knew it, I knew it and even the coaches knew it – yet I was still required to have that class – I couldn’t tell you what kind of grade I ever got in it, but I know it wasn’t a good grade (I know as most of my grades in school weren’t good).

Once in grade school I recall one of the leaders who tried to make use of that by making a play where i would catch the ball – I was never covered by the opposing team it would be a huge waste, no one in their right mind would be throwing a ball to me, but this one kid planned it and I halfheartedly was excited to participate – this play would have won us the game. But as these kinds of things go – I was unable to catch the ball, imagine that and therefore we lost and once again I had managed to not be of any help to my classmates. Not once in the remaining years of school was I part of a plan to win, just didn’t happen.

In high school gym became less of an annoyance as we sometimes were able to choose which activities we wanted to participate in and honestly because some times it was better to not really participate but be stoned while all the other kids did partake in sports. My friend Ted and I used to walk during “Track and Field” and smoke our cigarettes as we did, it wasn’t really something that interested us.

Some of the many activities that I was required to participate in included:

  • basketball
  • softball
  • track and field
  • curling
  • wrestling
  • flag or touch football
  • tennis
  • golf
  • gymnastics

There were times in Phys Ed that I had to climb a rope, do somersaults, or head stands and the rope thing was usually done with every other kid watching and giggling or snickering. I don’t recall many of the kids being able to climb that rope well or even doing push ups well, but that could be me not really caring too. Phys Ed was really not a class I had any fun in at all – recess was sometimes even a challenge to find something I cared about doing – usually my imagination had me doing something or pretending to be a superhero – kickball, tag, or monkey bars really didn’t do it for me.

I know these things were meant to encourage me to be more active, to see if I had interest in sports or hidden talents so the school could get more money if I was a star or something. But honestly I’ve never had a job interview where standing on my head, or climbing a rope was a pre-requisite. No one in my adult life has seriously wondered if I knew anything about curling that wasn’t talking about hair. Yes, if a zombie apocalypse happens I’ll have to avoid those creatures so they wont eat my brains, but have you seen these things move? I’m sure I can out walk em and if necessary run.

So here I am, 40, and I still don’t find any enjoyment in any of these activities (well maybe wrestling, but that’s only under certain circumstances you know). I don’t feel the urge to watch, participate or even care about these types of activities. The personal trainer I’m seeing at the gym (yes, I know how ironic that seems) keeps telling me that these things were doing are going to make me really strong – but honestly how often am I going to need to arm wrestle myself out of a situation? Is there really going to be a need for a pull up in my future?

I’ve come to the conclusion that exercise is a lot like math, one of those things that is mandatory learning but not something you’ll ever use in everyday life. I also think that the studies that say exercise makes you feel better are flawed, or perhaps the people who feel better after exercising have a different genetic makeup than the rest of us. I’ve got 5 more weeks of personal training, and it’s possible that I’ll change my mind, but I don’t think it’s likely.

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