Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion – The Fitness Boot Camp (without boots)

Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

First of all the photo of the day. Yesterday I took a trip to my nearest field and the cows had been let out again. They were busy munching grass and the farmer had installed a cow canteen for a refreshing drink: something like a bar.

Cows

As this prompt was based on school days and they were in the dark ages I do not have a lot to add The Best Days of your Life, but wait a minute I do. You remember those so-called physical exercise things where we were in training for a fitness boot camp to enable us to survive. It was not really my thing. We all reported in the gymnastic hall and the teacher was already sharpening her fangs and oiling her voice to ensure she was heard in all corners.

Of course we had to dress for the occasion, the latest cry in fashion, we were really sexy. School uniform was green from the under garments to the ones on top, except for the t-shirt which I believe was a sort of beige or white. My memory fails me in that connection, but important were the shorts. No wait, the trainer had a brilliant idea. We were all girls in the hall, no male specimens to see us and so why bother with the shorts, the nice green cotton knickers were just as good. They were not tapered, just straight down and the biggest sex killers you can imagine. So we girls would run in a circle and climb a few bars on the wall. There were even ropes hanging down that you could climb like a monkey. I did not even reach the monkey grade, but remained an earthworm. Perhaps I had problems with gravity, or perhaps my bare feet did not manage to get wound into the rope. Yes, no foot cover was allowed and Mr. Adidas was not yet born. He was still sleeping in his pram wondering how to overcome the walking world.

Just for the fun/torture of it the teacher would sometimes bring out one of the super toys, the gym horse. It was not a live horse, although I sometimes had a feeling that it was when my jump over the top was not high enough. The horse would give me a kick and propel me to the floor in a crumpled heap. No worry, the teacher had everything under control. She did a quick check to see if I was still breathing and my limbs could be moved without causing any discomfort and we continued.

“Try it again” she said in a merry voice with malignant undertones.

So I tried it again, and again and again. We all cleared the horse with one exception, yes me. I had no future in gymnastics it seemed, winning a few gold medals for the British team at the olympics. The teacher could not understand that the tallest girl in the class could not run faster or jump higher. She was convinced I was doing it on purpose.

Once a week they let us out to breath the fresh air of the gaming grounds. This meant a 30 minute drive in a coach out into the London countryside, known as Essex (a county/state hung onto the eastern borders of London). I remember one memorable occasion when the coach driver made an emergency stop on the main road and threatened to throw us all out of the coach if we continued to make such a noise and throw various objects. We were distracting him from his job it seemed.

We were allowed to wear our gym dress with the short trousers to be respectable. We changed before leaving the school and when we reached our destination a green cloud of young teenage girls would peel out of the coach with enthusiasm. The hockey ground was ready for an attack. I think land hockey was the only game I ever enjoyed due to its similarity with football, I even understood the rules. My friend and I formed the defence, the right and left back. We were protecting the goalkeeper who stood behind us and we formed a solid wall to stop the goals going into the net. Have you ever been hit by a hockey ball? I would not recommend it, they are made of solid wood.

I remember developing a style of a hot strong shot. Apparently for long distance shots you should have your hands together at the top of the hockey stick to ensure a direct hit. I discovered that if I had my hands at a distance from each other, as in the short distance shots, your hit was much stronger and more direct. So much so that I became a member of the school hockey team. Luckily there was only one match against another school before I left and we lost it. Again my future as a professional British land hockey player was thwarted at the beginning.

The return journey from the gaming grounds was a do-it-yourself thing. Apparently the school did not have the funds to transport us home in the coach, so it was with public transport that we arrived home, finding our own way into London with the bus system. Showers were not yet invented, we had changed into our school uniform probably smelling of the sweat after an hour hitting the ball around. Oh yes, happy days, I hated them.

“School days are the best days of your life” my mum would say, but I do not think she had gymnastic lessons.

Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion – The Fitness Boot Camp (without boots)

22 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion – The Fitness Boot Camp (without boots)

  1. You’re lucky you understood the rules of land hockey. My recollection of “gym” class was being thrown out onto whatever playing field was in season and told to have at it. Instructions? You don’t need no stinking instructions – it’s GYM class! A bunch of sadists…all of them (gym teachers that is).

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  2. Oh, how I dreaded gym class! I could do the calisthenics, but I didn’t have speed as a runner. I could smack a homerun, and it’s a good thing, because I couldn’t run. I was a good guard in basketball, but I couldn’t run or shoot. I never understood why PE should affect my academic gpa, because it wasn’t academic. You were either coordinated, fast, and accurate or. . . .you weren’t. No matter how hard you tried. Blah. I was delighted beyond words when PE was no longer required in the junior and senior years in my high school.

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    • It was one of the main reasons why I was glad to get to the secretarial class. No more gymnastics. I did Tai chi for a few years, now no longer. Now that would have suited me in the school.

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  3. I never participated in any team sport. Not once. Not ever. No, wait. I was technically a member of the swim team, but it was entirely to fill up the roster. I never swam in a meet and mostly, didn’t even attend the practice sessions, probably because I didn’t (don’t) swim very well. Gym classes — internationally — seem to be run by sadistic teachers who love torturing kids.

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    • I was such a keen football fan when I was in school (the english style with the round ball) that hockey was the next best thing to it, so I quite liked playing. Otherwise I hated it all. My swimming eventually became enough to be a rival to a dog and they put me in the beginner’s width, where I came fourth. That was the beginning and end of my swimming career, thank goodness. Our gym teacher was sort of, well not so ladylike, if you know what I mean, so she thought we were all Amazons. I definitely was not. I just hated the whole gymnastic scene, I was no good at it and accident prone.

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  4. I loved that game — we called it field hockey. I wanted to be good at gymnastics, but I wasn’t. No upper body strength. I hated basketball (people who wear glasses…) and volleyball (same reason) but outdoor games on a green field that involved running? Yay! Our gym uniform was really horrific. It was ONE piece and it had BLOOMERS truly, heavy cotton, baggy shorts with elastic on the bottoms. All for modesty — but if you were long waisted or grew taller during the year, the outfits were actually painful. My favorite was when I was at the private school and they took us to a local indoor ice rink — wow. Yeah, actually, I think I liked gym better than any other class. The only classes in which I always got high marks were gym and home economics.

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    • It would probably be field hockey in England, I just did a translation of the German word, not knowing anything better. Your shorts sound a bit like our nickers. I just hated the whole gymnastic circus at school. I played netball (something like basketball) but there again I was almost as tall as the basket, but never scored a goal.

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  5. I hated school days, Pat. The only thing I enjoyed were the sports though. I was brilliant an mathematics and almost always first in my class. I was usually last in history though. I hated history.

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    • I went to a girl’s grammar school in London and was quite good at everything except for sports and gymnastics. I did my OL GCE’s and passed in 6 in 1963. I even did Algebra and Trigonometry and then we learnt logarithms and antilogarithms because the pocket calculators were not yet used. Pythagoras and I communicated with triangles. And I learnt French and German at school.

      How’s the family?

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      • I did all those too, Pat. I loved all the mathematical stuff but not much else. I did French for six years but did German while I was in my first job. I’ve probably forgotten both now. Well all the family members are okay but totally depressed at the situation and terrified of all the daily aftershocks.

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  6. Pingback: East, West – School is Best?  | maspring37

  7. I had the same problems with the wooden horse. I hated it. I played basketball, but I didn’t like contact sports so I managed to get good at what today are triple shots, from a safe distance of the fight under the basket. When I was in school our gym teachers where all members of the “female section” of the “movement” of Franco, very authoritative. Once I had an operation in my leg to remove a tumor from a bone, pretty serious. Of course, I couldn’t do gym, because I had my leg in a cast and a couldn’t touch the floor at all with it. But I didn’t have a paper signed by an “official” doctor. Just my doctor’s report. So she made me go down to the gym class with my crutches and my cast to attend the class for a month until I overcame the burocratic barrier and got the damn paper. Surrealistic.

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    • I could never understand that gym was considered so important. Life under Generalissimo Franco sounds almost communistic, although they were the ones he fought against.

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      • It was a lot easier than under the communist. At least so said my mom who lived under the two systems. We had free trade and things were lighter those last years of the regime. But a dictatorship is a dictatorship, no matter what sign. I don’t like it at all.

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