Dante's 9 Circles of Hell: AKA Phys Ed Class

As part of my childhood therapy homework, I've decided to start getting into the crux of where my self esteem hit the shitter.  It finally came to me the other day while watching an episode of The Simpsons.  To get a better idea of what Dodgeball (Bombardment) was like for a girl like me - watch this little Simpsons clip.

Gym Class.  Also called Physical Education.  Should be called Dante's 9 Circles of Hell.

I'm going to begin with a typical disclaimer that I like to do, because I really want to make it clear how much damage my little spirit suffered being an overdeveloped 10 year old chubba girl in elementary school.  First part of the disclaimer:  this is a humor blog, please don't get all up in my grill about how important movement is for kids...blah blah blah.  This is about exorcising MY demons, not exercising the world's children. Capish? Second of all, I don't want to know how great YOU were at any of these things.  If you really feel like bragging about the fact that you got top numbers in all of your tests and your BMI was effing perfect at 10 years old, then go start your own blog.  I ROCKED THE HOUSE IN PE, BUT I SUCK IN LIFE.  Truly, however, I tell you all of this from a place of love.  If we're good, and you promise you won't judge me (but you certainly have my permission to laugh), then read on.  Otherwise, go to another story of mine in peace and good tidings. 

Gym class terrorized me.  I was a 32D in 5th grade; a joke that Mother Nature played on me for no apparent reason other than to start character building at age 10.  As if being a 5th grader with a moustache and hairy legs wasn't enough of a cross to bear, throw in boobs and butt and watch me roll.  I hated gym class with a passion.  I certainly wasn't the sportsy type - not with my frame anyways.  My gym teachers shook their head when they saw me, and I am pretty sure they gave up on me from day one.

I was, of course, picked last for any team sports.  And why not?  I can understand this.  Unless there was a sport that caught a ball with the side of your face, I was useless.  Which brings me to my first circle of hell.

Dodgeball - I had to know who the sick bastard was that created this game.  I did some research, and this is what I discovered.
It is estimated that Dodgeball started back in the Caveman Era. Where cavemen, frustrated by the sun in their eyes, hurled rocks at the sun. When they came down, some caveman would be killed while others learned to "dodge" the rocks. This carried over into the Egyptian era to where they pharaoh would hold weekly "Dodgeball tournaments". Slowly but surely it evolved into what dodgeball is today.
So easy, even the damn cavemen could do it.

The closest I ever came to being as cool as Marcia Brady, was the day I was pummeled in the face by a Dodgeball, making my Greek nose even bigger, and giving the boys one more joke to tease me with.  Needless to say, that was the last time anyone wanted me on their team.  I had the 'cheese touch,'  'cooties,' and no one wanted to be 'stuck with it.'

Kickball -  Is kickball any better? is not.  Picture me, up to kick.  Everyone is rolling their eyes just hoping it will be a quick and painless out so they can continue the game with real contenders.  I step back, take a running start to the ball - but the ball goes through my legs as I try to kick, causing me to trip and fall.  I just saunter to the back of the line, shrugging my sloppy shoulders and let someone else take a turn. 

Volleyball - What is it with all of these high-speed, intense, ball smashing, cheek pummeling games in this country?  Once again, no matter what position they put me in, I was either going to eat an elbow of a real contender plowing into me to save the ball, or I was going to completely miss the ball and hit myself with my arms entwined into the other.  I can recall the sheer terror of the ball coming at me full blast and me flailing around trying to hit it off of any limb, any body part, anything.  Fail.

The Presidential Fitness Test - Who's idea was this? I think it was Reagan's back in the 80s.  I remember thinking ohhh this is important and I better do well or I am going to be in so much trouble with the President!  At ten years old, the mere label of Presidential was intimidating.  I didn't know what was going to happen with the results.  Poor me.  I remember trying desperately to push out a few crunches while my PE Teacher held my feet and counted.  The only thing I managed to push out was a toot.  Humiliating.  Do you see why I need therapy?   I failed the test miserably.  I fell below the recommended level of fitness by no one's surprise.  I believe instead of taking an award home, I took a form letter home from the President regarding the importance of Nutrition and Physical Fitness.  My mom read the letter as she melted 4 sticks of butter while preparing our big fat Greek dinner. 

Failed miserably.

Rope Climbing - There are few memories that haunt me more than walking into the gymnasium and seeing the bright blue mats underneath the hanging rope of terror.  Son-of-a biscuit.  They're going to make me climb that effing rope again.  Sure enough, everyone, or most everyone made it more than half way up.  Almost all of the boys made it to the top to ring the victory bell.  No matter what, we had to stay on and try as long as we could, or plunge to our social death on the blue mat of shame.  I always told myself this time I was going to do it!  Only to find myself holding on for dear life, swinging back and forth like a pendulum and getting rope rash on my sideburns. 

Trampoline Day  - I know, I know you are shaking your head and yelling - how could she NOT enjoy trampoline day????  I get it.  Don't you think I wanted to jump on that thing and giggle like all of the other kids??  Of course I did.  But someone in my class decided that for every girl that went up for a turn, the boys would look under the trampoline and measure the distance from the ground to determine what a fat ass said girl really was.  Since 90% of the other girls were twigs, they had a ball when it was my turn to go up.  My excitement quickly turned to shame as the boys looked under the bouncy contraption from hell at how close I came from hitting the ground and breaking the record of biggest lardo to hit the trampoline.  I hate that gym teacher more than you can know for not putting a stop to that.

Gymnastics Day - This is the day that they brought all of the spectacular gymnastics equipment into school.  They brought the uneven bars, high balance beams, the pommel horse and lots of colored mats.  I didn't take gymnastics, or ballet for that matter.  I wasn't really built like Nadia Comaneci so it wasn't worth the money to try and make me fit into a leotard.  The only thing she and I had in common was a difficult spelled name and facial hair.  When it came time to do anything, my gym teacher put me at the low balance beam.  You know, the one that is 2 inches off the ground.  She had me walk like a tightrope walker back and forth while others flipped their way around the uneven bars.  That was enough to ruin me from ever watching the Winter Olympics again.

Nothing makes you feel like an Olympic gymnast quite like this low beam.  Eyeroll.  Thanks for the shot of confidence, teach!

Scooter and Rope Day -   Anyone remember these little torture devices?

There was nothing more exciting than scooter and rope day.  Unless you were me.  I was like a pack mule good for flinging the skinny girls around via the rope around my waist.  Here's where I start to get bitter.  What in the hell purpose does learning how to get flung around on a scooter by a rope?  I will never, and have never used that skill in my life time.  Bitter, party of one.  Your table near the all-you-can-eat emotions bar is ready.

Parachute Day -  I don't know.  I guess I really can't find a beef with Parachute Day.  But I'm sure it was traumatizing in some way, shape or form.  Perhaps I've put it out of my mind, for now.  It'll come back to me eventually.
source: the chive

Track & Field Day -  Oh ho hooooo, I saved the best for last.  Here's the day when I gave up on anything physical ever.  They stuck the fork in me, exercise-wise when they sent me over to do shot put and discus with the other big girls.  Wow.  It was so cruel what they did.  I have to say, however, I put my Dolly Parton chest into catapulting that effing solid ball of hate as far as I could, praying I would knock my gym teacher in her stupid head.  I missed.  But I got 3rd place out of 5 girls.  It wasn't last.  For once.

That's it for this session of my therapy.  I feel better letting some of that pain go.  I think I might even go for a run.  Or not.  Maybe I'll just go grab some nachos and a beer.  Regardless.  My 32D rack got me a lot farther in life than that gym teacher could ever hope for.  So to her I say - take your scooter, and your rope - and ...well...just ...whatever.

~Big words from a Bighearted girl..
Love and Hugs-


  1. First of all, as a fellow overdeveloped (former) young 'un, I TOTALLY feel ya. Gym class was HELL. I was shy enough to begin with, but being picked last at everything, and well, SUCKING at all the sports took it's toll. The worst was "field day", where we all had to do the marathon of shit that we "learned" all year. FAIL.

  2. I was a straight A student and ballet dancer (so flexible and fit) who consistantly got D's in gym because of my lack of effort and downright refusal to participate. Thank god it didn't count towards our GPA in high school.

  3. DG this is hilarious! I was so the opposite though..tiny, way skinny and boobs til I was 19....I looked like 1 was 12 going off to college

  4. LMAO! I love the visual of your mom melting all that butter while reading over the Health and Nutrition letter. PE sucked for at least half the kids...the others will either go on to professional sport greatness OR spend the rest of their adult lives reminiscing about how frickin' great they were back in high school football or cheer. The rest of us moved on from high school and rarely glance back (except when in therapy)! LOL

  5. From your fingers to the gods' ears! That rope!! OMG, who thought out that particular form of torture??? The only thing those ropes are good for is happily swinging about on them. Or: tie some beams between them, put the thick mat on them and make a HUGE swing.
    Climbing a rope?? Why? They got escalators and elevators everywhere!!!

    I was always the tallest (1.76 m by the time I was 13, shoot me now!), and a gymnast (I was pretty darn good), and our teacher was a short and dumpy one with a "slight" overweight problem.
    Need an example? Yeah, sure, pick me... why not.
    I was constantly picked on because of my surname, my looks (weird) and my studiousness (think: Hermione with flower pot hair and clothes that were almost hip but not quite there, add glasses and there ya go). So to pick me was adding another drop of fuel on the fire of teasing.

    I loved gymnastics, basketball and volleyball (though I always shouted when someone smashed a ball "I AM SO NOT GETTING THAT ONE!", I just ducked and went foetus). I could have done without the track & field shit. And who on earth invented that Cooper test? 12 minutes of running? Why? We're running to and fro classes, we did not need more of the same silliness.

    Keep up the rants, I love it!!! *hug* + *shares Ben & Jerry's"


  6. Love it!!! And I, like Nitty, was extremely small and unnoticeable until the age of 18. My fave was badminton where I had more fun giggling when the teacher said "hit the cock", than I did actually playing the game.

  7. I hated gym and sports. The one time I ever hit the ball in softball - THE ONE TIME - I hit it too late and hit it into my face.

    I got a D in basketball. We were graded on how many free throws we made. I made almost none.

    I was slow. I was chubby. I couldn't see - I didn't get glasses until I was in 5th grade but needed them much earlier. I think I missed the development point where you get your hand-eye coordination.

    The only thing you had that I didn't was a bosom. If only we could have split the difference!

  8. Did you play a game called Nuke Em? I have blocked out 95% of my 1980's PE class memories but what in the world were they doing playing a game called Nuke Em in class? If that happened today the teacher would probably be put on leave. And I'm totally with ya on the rope of terror and the Presidential Torture Test. I think I could hold a chin up 2 seconds. And I embraced it.

  9. I loved this. But it did bring up all of those painful memories of PE class. Were you following me around elementary school or what? Awful. And I get so mad thinking about the teasing that happened right in front of the teacher. Not just the gym teacher, there were several teachers that did nothing to stop bullying. Great now I'm all fired up. Love ya DG! Have a great weekend!

  10. My dad was an elementary school gym teacher for 35 years. Imagine the pressure I had to perform. I was in every sport out there and had to get A's in gym or I would be shunned. To this day when my kids get their report cards the first thing my dad asks is what they got in gym.

  11. That damn elusive climbing rope! I NEVER made it even one step! Obstacle course day holds some angst filled memories too! I guess square dancing might be the best elementary school memory I have! That is pitiful!

  12. My elementary school didn't have a gym or a playground so we got to have gym class on the abandoned lot behind the school. As if Dodgeball and Kickball aren't painful enough for those of us who lack any athletic skill, imagine falling on broken glass shards and random rocks and gravel. Good times, good times!

  13. I LOVE this! I too was very developed very early. I hated gym, mostly because it was infinitely stupid.
    I love love love “Bitter, party of one. Your table near the all you can eat emotions bar is ready”. Genius and I am reusing that!
    Oh and also thanks for using “Capish”, what a wonderful, yet underused, word that is!

  14. Just found your blog today. Oh my goodness. I laughed and cried and cringed at almost everything on here. I was tall and skinny and awkward and totally flat chested until I got pregnant at 29, but I can relate to most of this. I hated P.E. I sucked at everything. My issues with PE came more middle school/high school though, and since I lived in the grand state of IL we had PE every day of every year. What the crap? Only two years of high school math but we must have PE for four years. I about killed myself having to do a vault on gymnastics unit, got made fun of for how I run (or walked rather - I have a condition that makes it hard for me to put my heels down), and about drown in the swimming unit. Oh my - I need some therapy.

    1. Hi Amanda! Welcome! So happy to have more scarred women who need therapy for torment endured in PE class! xo

  15. Oh, and Kennedy was the one who did the Presidential Fitness test. Yes, I know this random factoid b/c I hate PE so much.

  16. Well, I guess I can thank the Gods that we didn't have a gymnastics day. However, we had the mile run instead. To this day, if I am running, you'd better be too, because someone's chasing me with a knife. Hopefully they were worse at the mile run than I was, or I won't stand a chance.

    PE was hell for me, too. Count me among the underdeveloped folks, though. The two muscles I had in my body had no chance of getting me up that damned rope.

    My question is, how could I go every day of school and not be noticed, but they sure knew who I was when it came time to pick teams?

  17. I feel your pain! Try having big boobs and a perverted PE teacher who requires jump rope testing. Ewwww...

  18. Girl I feel your pain. Add this as a 10th circle to Dante's little mom dated my middle school P.E. teacher when they were in high school. Lord but I LOVED when we had to do that freaking square dancing because guess who got picked to demonstrate with the teacher?! This freaking chick that's who. Yeah. School in general sucked monkey nuts for me but gym was just the cherry on that particular sundae.

  19. Girl I feel your pain. I had boobs in 6th grade. When I got to middle school is where the fun started. Add this as a 10th circle to Dante's little fun mom dated my middle school PE teacher when they were in high school so guess who got to demonstrate with the teacher every.freaking.time we had square dancing days? This freaking chick that's who. Dunno if he was paying me back for whatever went wrong with them but it solidified my dorkdom in school that I never lived down.


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