Thursday, 16 September 2010

Embarrassed by exercise

I loathe exercising in front of people. This has led to me having a wonderful collection of yoga and hi-lo DVDs. I'm about to do my Yoga for Relaxation, and consequently fall asleep on the floor.

I always thought I was embarrassed because I'm bad at sport, but that's not really it. I don't like being *judged* by people in regard to sporting ability. I've never had any issues playing team sports.

Why do I have such a phobia about people watching me play sport? Simple. Compulsory school sports competitions, and being compared to others in my class via PE league tables.
My first six months at school, and already I suck
These things completely destroyed my self-confidence regarding physical activity. This is so unfair.

Why aren't there compulsory maths, science, singing, or English competitions at school? I was good at all those things. Producing league tables about the academic ability of individual students is verboten. Teachers aren't even allowed to be honest when they are writing reports.
Wow, I can't imagine why these kinds of comparisons would destroy a 13 year old girl
You could argue that in terms of academia, I win because I now have a degree and a salary - where are the winners of the shot-put, and 400m race? However, those who were good at sport had the opportunity for public adulation in their formative years, while all I did was publicly fail. Woefully.

Why is it okay to publicly praise or castigate people for their physical ability, and absolutely forbidden to display rankings of student's academic success or failure?
Shame there wasn't a blue ribbon for reading while riding


  1. One of the MAJOR reasons we are home-schooling.
    I have to disagree on one point though. It is tough if you suck at the acedemic stuff too. Just saying :)
    Just about all of conventional schooling is about being average (or if you are lucky enough, above average) (but not too above average or your a freak) fall anywhere outside of this and you are in trouble.
    There is such a gap between those that are good acedemically and those that are good physically, there are not many who are good at both. Hugs, school (some of it) was pretty sucky. xxoo

  2. I reckon you should claim that you did the 1.6km run in 1.52 minutes. Cos that's what it looks like! You'd have a world record... ;)

    I sucked just as much, but our sport assessment was always based on tests about the rules of the various sports, so I always wound up getting a B+ for PE. Except when it came to gymnastics - there was no test on the rules for that. I always got Ds for gymnastics. But my parents didn't care, cos they knew I was shit at PE!!

  3. Jess - I agree that it's also tough if academic stuff is not your thing. It just seems silly to *not* celebrate other skills when they do exist. Not everyone can be a winner at something, but the fact that sport is the only thing where kids compete against each other in public is stupid.

    Kirsti - I think you were lucky! The schools I went to were less into rules and more into brute force :-)

  4. You think I haven't had fights with PE staff over this? I once told a kid he couldn't go to inter-school rugby, because he had a maths test that day AND he had a science assignment a week overdue. Apparently I'm not allowed to do that.

    Also, our kids get 5 periods of PE a week. Now, sport and health is very important, and I don't mean to take away from that, but they also get 5 periods of maths a week... and TWO of science. TWO, I say!

    And it's all hands on deck for sports days - athletics and swimming carnival are the main ones (but I reckon I lose at least another 20 periods a semester for PE-related things) - but, if we DARE ask for the assistance of others for helping with Science week or pyublic speaking competitions, well, everyone is too busy and too important.

    I hated PE when I was at school, and I hate it now that I teach at one.

  5. Hi Kat, I dunno, I always got good marks in PE, even if I wasn't as good at athletics type stuff as others, because I always put in the effort of doing the class assignments more than others, hence I'd get A's and they'd be lucky to get B's and C's. I was admittedly one of the better students at PE, not only because I didn't sit on the sidelines pretending it was that time of the month but because I had a go and tried my hardest. Athletics was my downfall but I was second best in sit-ups of the whole class! I bet a lot of people didn't see that at all. Maybe Kyneton Secondary was a lot more forgiving to their students. I certainly know that we did not have to compete for anything, all we had to do was complete it (such as the beep test and the 1.4km jog) and our results were not broadcast to all in our reports. If we took part and tried, and then ensured we did the assignments, I'm pretty sure we got good marks. We weren't in any league tables with anyone so... figures.

  6. Oh, and I think you should get a trophy for reading while reading a bike. Did you injure yourself though? I still give myself injuries due to reading while doing other things - usually I walk into walls, but occasionally it's a table or a cupboard door. So if you managed it without injury, I think you need a tiara as well as a trophy ;)

  7. Meegs - sadly, I'm not surprised at all. Some schools here take days out for science fairs (as opposed to just for sport), so there is hope!

    Sam - I'm glad you had a more positive experience than me! I don't recall there being any assignments in PE until we were in Year 10, so before that all your marks were based on enthusiasm and ability. I did participate, but had no enthusiasm BECAUSE I had no ability.

    Kirsti - nope, never fell off. I used to just do laps up and down the driveway for hours on end. In hindsight, I've no idea how I would steer the bike with a book in my hand, so maybe I *should* get myself a trophy!

  8. I thought I was a bit "out there" for reading in the shower (yes, really), but YOU take the cake for doing it on a bike!

    I sucked at PE and I don't think I ever got better than a B for it, but they scaled our marks according to effort. There was this weird supportive thing going on from the cooler, sportier kids for those who sucked (as long as they were making a decent effort), which felt condescending at the time, but I'm sure they meant well. I have this memory of coming dead last (by about half a lap) in the 800m trials, and everyone clapped and cheered as I came in (including the hot guys who everyone had crushes on), and all I wanted to do was hide under a rock and cry.

    However, our school participated in a lot of "alternative" sports like orienteering and canoeing, and I was above average at both (possibly something to do with being able to read a map, and being too unfit to run too far in the wrong direction like the other kids? ;) ). And our school was pretty well rounded with the other activities - things like choir competitions and LOTE elecution competitions and maths contests were pretty highly publicised. But they always played second fiddle to sport, and probably always will, because they're less entertaining. I guess the key is, if you have the luxury, to send your kids to a school that makes the most of their strengths and doesn't belittle them for their weaknesses.


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