Posts Tagged 'gym'

Middle School Gym Class Can Be Brutal

Simone Weisman


So we didn’t have to wear itchy uniforms like those our parents had to put on. Nevertheless, middle school gym classes never lost their brutality. In the locker room that smelled like pickles, I would suffer teasing and dodge gossip. While I always managed to pull myself together in time for class, other girls would arrive late, or dressed in jeans. Sometimes they didn’t come to gym at all.

I realize today that middle school gym was geared towards discovering our weaknesses. Instead of building confidence in us, it created long lasting insecurities. We all dreaded particular units, knowing we wouldn’t get picked for teams. Most of my gym teachers ignored exclusive and reckless behavior, perhaps considering it healthy competition. Conventional gym class was no way to turn the rowdy boys into young men, nor the timid children into team MVPs.

Why not teach children the benefits of sports and exercise instead of simply forcing certain activities upon them? They are not animals to be trained, but human beings with the capacity to reason. First, whether it’s discussion in the classroom or drills in the gym, every child should have the opportunity to be a leader. Moreover, leadership experience boosts confidence and courage. Second, physical educators should teach a ropes course to implement the virtues of teamwork and responsibility.

I believe that many cases of bad sportsmanship, sexist attitudes, and issues with body image can be traced back to middle school gym classes. If physical educators find ways to integrate sports with the virtues of teamwork and fairness, they could help make the transition from childhood to adolescence a happier and healthier experience.

The Problem with the Fitness Center

Name Withheld at the Request of the Author

The Middlebury College Fitness Center has finally become the most uninspiring and laughable location on campus. The number of outrageous and comical characters in that dungeon leads me to question if anybody would even bat an eye if I exercised in a Batman costume singing the theme song from Fraggle Rock. The time has come to address this situation with the frankness and sincerity that it deserves.

I’ll begin with the muscle-flexing, steroid-binging, crew-cut jocks that represent the more athletic, non-intellectual side of Middlebury. What they may lack in social skills and GPA they make up for in their glycogen stores and high-protein diets. Let’s just get this out of the way before anything else: men, we are all impressed with the size of your muscles. From your attenuated calves, which you choose to tone on the only staircase in the facility, to your massive pectorals, you are truly an impressive human specimen. But keep it to yourself. The mirrors in the fitness center are to encourage correctness of form— indeed a lost art at Middlebury— they are not for you to compare how much better you look than the last time you were in there, which was probably that morning. But who am I to judge? Despite spending more time in the gym than in the classroom, your creatine-flooded minds might actually amount to something in the long run. You might even get elected as governor of California.

As far as the low-cadence, loafer-wearing, People-reading, mindless cyclists go— get the hell off the bike. Too many times have I walked in to find an entire row of stationary bikes getting less action than those lonely souls that play video games in the Sunderland computer lab get on Saturday night. Simple concept, folks: pedal faster. If you went biking outside at that pace, you’d get passed by mothers with strollers and degenerates on skateboards. Ditch the magazine and put in some effort: you’re there to exercise.

The scope of slackers in the fitness center is not limited to the aforementioned offenders. I’m a runner myself, and it has been a long time since I’ve seen a fellow runner on a treadmill. This is probably because we have some semblance of an idea about what running is. For those of you who don’t know— and clearly there are many of you— I’ll give you some free advice so you can stop embarrassing yourselves to the point of absurdity. First, running shoes are critical. Those black and white Adidas that were cool in 4th grade don’t cut it, nor do your basketball shoes or the Reeboks you wear to class on Mondays. Get a real pair of running shoes. Second, run faster than you walk. If you are going to waste your time, then at least waste it outside where you’ll get fresh air and won’t bother anyone. Perhaps in the silence of the Middlebury countryside, you could get away with your atrocious and ill-conceived fitness attire. Believe it or not, those Abercrombie models do not actually work out in those clothes. It’s a gimmick and you bought it— how does that play with your politically-correct, left-leaning, save-the-planet-drive-a-Prius mind? Oh, and finally: no workout consists of a ten minute jog. That’s a warm-up.

The final group of embarrassing space cadets I want to address is those individuals who have absolutely no business on the Nautilus machines. Have a look around the next time you’re in there. At the far left you’ll see the jeans-clad hippie doing an absurd number of pull-ups on the Assisted Pull-Up machine. In the center, you’ll spot the dazed blond gazing off into the distance— probably thinking about what color ribbon she’ll wear in her hair tomorrow— as she mindlessly presses an insignificant weight on the Calf machine. My personal favorite is the mentally bankrupt criminal who simply sits on the Pectoral machine and watches the bikers and runners while making no effort at physical activity. It’s an exercise machine, not a park bench. This creepy loafer obviously needs to reexamine his priorities. Perhaps he should do that in his dorm room or the Grille, out of everyone else’s way.

Middlebury prides itself as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the United States. I am certainly not one to disagree, but the student body seriously needs to get its act together in that God-forsaken joke of a fitness center. No longer can we tolerate these chic displays of idleness and aspiring athleticism. Patrick Henry once said “give me liberty or give me death.” I say to you: give me a break.