mlah The “culture” that has evolved here isn’t conducive to sissies

February 13, 2008

Gym Class

Filed under: Humor,Personal,TV and Movies — mlah @ 3:05 am

Iranian Girl, Indian Girl

So I bought Mr. Woodcock on Blu-Ray for my PS3 today.

Ah, the memories are all coming flooding back to me.

Everybody has had gym class, or at least everyone should. It’s too bad that dodgeball is getti8ng outlawed all across the country. At least dropped from the list of possible activites. What a right of passage it was.

I remember 7th-8th grade gym class in Thoreau, New Mexico. We had two classes in the gym at the saem time. Boys, and girls PE. We played all kinds of games but never really had any formal training in any kind of sport. Mainly, it was just calisthenics, and humor for the instructor.

I remember playing dodgeball and field hockey the most. Yes we played field hockey on the basketball court. We didn’t get to play too often though, those were full court games, and that meant either the girls had to play with us, or they had to sit in the bleachers and watch. And that’s not really PE for them.

But we still got to play.

And our teacher was coach James Pena. He was a Texan and so was his wife. I’ll tell you how I know that. Coach Pena everyone knew. Thoreau being the little AA school that it was, the same guys coached everything. So coach Pena was the basketball coach. Asst Football coach, and track coach. But I remember one day Coach was gone. It was a planned absence. Away game or something. So he had his wife fill in for him. I have no idea what her name was. I just remember him warning us avbout consequences if we didn’t behave while he was gone, or God forbid, gave his wife a hard time.

And this was no idle possibility. 7th and 8th grades, I was a HELLION. I’ve told stories before, and I’ll tell more of them still.

But we were not allowed to misbehave. And then the day came. Mrs. Pena started class and put us in our “Lanes” for warmup/stretching. And someone made a comment about “Lanes”. And the fun began.

Have y’all seen “Full Metal Jacket” where Gunnery Sergeant Hartman threatens to PT them til they DIE! Well, Gunny Hartman, meet Mrs. Pena.

She Warmed our asses right up. And then she had been instructed to let us play dogeball. But first she had a list of guys who had absenses. Take a lap losers. Oh wait. Try 10 laps per absense.

As the rest of us watched and didn’t dare heckle she kept a sharp eye out. And when they were done, she ran them again for not running fast enough. At the end of this little episode we teamed up for dodgeball.

There was one guy I remember who was running. His name was Curtis Bitsui. Navajo guy. He had been running his ass off. She politley asked him his name, and said “Surtis, you get to play”.

The others loafers sat and watched for a game.

Coach Pena laughed when he came back, and used the prospect of bringing his wife in as a threat of punishment to make us all behave. “NO! No coach Pena, don’t bring in your wife! Ok, we’ll do behave!”

Time went on. I remember playing field hockey with the girls. I think it was their activity, and they just had us play so the girls could use the whole gym. I remember the Navajo girls just beating the living hell out of my legs with the sticks. They didn’t even try for the ball. They’d just laugh when we accused them of it. Billy Huddleston was the first to observe it. He got in trouble for doing it back.

Coach Pena knew but didn’t really give a crap. “Just take it, they’re only girls.”

I remember not being able to play dodgeball one day. I had to sit by Coach Pena and help him pick people who were out. Not everyone would voluntarily leave the court to sit in the bleachers. To start the game, ALL of the available volleyballs (usually 7-10) would get lined up on the half court line. Each team would start up against the wall at one end of the gym. Coach Pena would sit at midcourt looking down the line of volleyballs and blow the whistle.

Sprint for the balls!

It was utter carnage! And the sick bastard loved it.

But so did we. I love dodgeball. Still do. I think it’s a travesty that kids in school are denied the learning experience of trying to bean a friend in the melon. Duck!

Coach Pena was about as close as it comes to a Mr Woodcock for me.

1 Comment »

  1. I hated dodgeball. So did all of the other girls who were C-cups in 7th grade. Oh, sure, the teachers got down on us when we aimed the ball at a guy’s nads, but said absolutely nothing when they aimed at our chests. Jerks.

    Comment by Venomous Kate — February 14, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

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