Embarrassing Moments in P.E., Part I

I have no idea what made me think of this today, but it probably has something to do with all the exercising I’ve been doing.  For anyone that knows me, you know that 3 months ago I would’ve laughed in your face if you had told me that I’d be working out 4 times a week.  You would also know that I am probably one of the most unathletic people on the planet, and as much I would love to be coordinated and physically capable of playing team sports, participating in a group class at the gym, or doing anything that involves any degree of physical exertion with grace and elegance…..it just ain’t happenin’.

Kindergarten school photo

I began to realize all this about myself at a pretty early age.  Even in elementary school, I knew deep down that I was never going to be the girl in P.E. that could blast out 5 pull-ups, or climb the rope, or be the first one picked for a team.  Instead, I was the kid that just dangled from the pull-up bar, swung from the rope without ever actually climbing it, and was usually one of the middle-to-last kids chosen.  The funny thing, though, was that I THOUGHT I was pretty good at these things.  In my mind, I always gave myself an A for effort, and thought that was what really mattered.  And maybe it does, but in the end I was still unable to do 90% of the P.E. requirements.

So it was 1986.  I was in kindergarten, and my P.E. teacher also happened to be my next-door neighbor.  I called him Coach, and I had a mixture of awe and fear of him.  He was tall, in shape, and could be kind of mean sometimes, especially to the….larger…kids.  Looking back, I think the guy was just really, really dedicated to his job and his belief that physical activity should be an everyday part of everyone’s life, and you know, I can’t fault him for that.  He just came off a little gruff sometimes.  Probably because of this, I wanted nothing more than to win his praise.  If I was riding my bike past his house after school and he was outside, inevitably I would try to pop a wheelie or something in an attempt to impress him.  This almost always resulted in an epic fail that left me bleeding and limping home.  Look, here I am prior to a crash:

I'm multi-tasking here with my gum and bike riding....no big deal.

At school, my efforts were even more intense.  I looked forward to P.E., but at the same time I dreaded it.  I always had fun, but I was also often caught up in trying to impress Coach with my athletic prowess.  And let me tell ya, that could be stressful.  One such day, Coach announced that we would be having a class race.  All the students were to line up against the wall on one side of the gym, run to the other wall, touch it, then run back. 

Now, I was very, very excited.  This way my chance! I considered myself to be a fast runner (I wasn’t), and I just knew that I could win this race (I couldn’t) and leave Coach in a state of astonishment (I did….but not for the reason I had hoped).

I was something of a delusional 5-year old.

My classmates and I all lined up against the wall for the race.  Some kids were itching to go, like me, while others were clearly less than thrilled.  These were the kids that Coach was always yelling at, fyi.  His whistle pierced the air, and we all took off.  Suddenly, everything else disappeared.  It was just me and Coach in an empty gym, me running for all I was worth, convinced I would win and get the praises I felt I so richly deserved.  I made it to the other wall, slapped it, and turned.  “This is it,” I thought to myself.  “This is my chance to show Coach how fast and talented I am!”

In a last ditch effort to make myself more aerodynamic and thus faster, I tucked my arms closer to my side, leaned forward, put my head down, and increased my speed.  I’m sure I looked really cool doing that, too.  “I’m gonna win, I’m gonna win,” I told myself.  I was nearing the wall, I could tell. 


“What the….?” I thought.  There was utter  silence, and I noticed Coach running my way out of the corner of my eye.  Everything was hazy, then it all went black.

I woke up later in the nurse’s office, with my head feeling like someone was drilling into with a jackhammer.  “Your mom’s on her way,” the nurse told me.  “Why?” I asked, completely unaware of what had happened.  “Uh….sweetie, you RAN FULL SPEED INTO A CONCRETE WALL.  You have a knot the size of Delaware on your head.  You’re goin’ home,” she said.  “Did I win the race?” I asked.  She just looked at me.

It was then that I realized that not only would Coach never be truly impressed by my athleticism, but that that athleticism was pretty much non-existent.  If he was ever impressed, it was at my complete and unstoppable ability to injure and embarrass myself.  That day, not only had I lost the race, I had also most likely given myself a concussion and made a fool of myself in front of my classmates. 

But, I still gave myself an A for effort.


5 comments so far

  1. Tara on

    Wow. That was just…….. AWESOME! I love you girl. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahah

  2. Tammy on

    I can picture it in my minds eye. hahahaha

  3. dad on

    You got that from your Mom, not me.

  4. Mrs. Breckenridge ;-) on

    I would just like to let you know that I printed and shared this post with “Coach” and he remembers this situation quite vividly.
    He also remembers swooping you up (unconscious), telling the other kids to sit down (probably threatening them with their lives if they moved), and running you to the nurse’s office. He also said he doesn’t remember you being THAT uncoordinated… :-)

  5. AudraRocks on

    you forgot to add the best part ….ahem…its something about…water for elephant (ears)! baahahahahaa! I kid, I kid!

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