Interesting article from the Toronto Star about bullying coaches.
I never played team sports as a kid. In fact, I did everything I could to avoid sports. I pretty much still do. A big part of that is that I just wasn’t interested. It wasn’t my “thing.” But I suspect a lot of it also had to do with the fact that, since I showed no natural ability or inclination, I was never treated in a way that encouraged me to want to stretch myself and learn about options other than football, basketball, etc.
Face it. Gym class is traumatizing for pretty much everyone in junior high. But for a queer kid who wasn’t very good at sports and who was already socially challenged and mercilessly teased on a regular basis, it was a fucking nightmare. And a bunch of redneck, meathead coaches who just didn’t “get it” made things much worse. While physical education classes are supposed to help you develop healthy lifelong habits, they had the exact opposite effect on me, teaching me that sports and physical fitness were something to be feared.
There were actually some things I was relatively good at–gymnastics and track come to mind–but as a boy, I was pushed into competitive team sports I had no talent for and no interest in. Not surprisingly, I faced a lot of ridicule. The asshole coaches and the forced curriculum were no help whatsoever.
My point here, however, is not to show what jerks my junior high PE coaches were (OK, maybe it is part of my point) but to show what a missed opportunity junior high gym classes can be for some students. I could’ve been inspired to do healthy things that I enjoyed, but instead, I developed a fear of all things athletic. The minute I was no longer required to take physical education classes, I stopped. I’ve never set foot in a gym since, and there’s a pretty good chance I never will.
The whole process didn’t do my general social development a lot of good either, but that’s a story for another day.