To the Freaks, the Beautiful, Beautiful FreaksBecause of the comments received and email sent regarding Cold Ethyl, I thought it best to respond this way rather than hiding my rage in comments.
Thanks to all who let their pain be known -- though we may be strangers, we are, on some level, kindred spirits, and I have this obscene urge to give all of you a big hug. Power to the weirdos!
Another thing: I realize that not all physical education teachers are Cold Ethyls. I know that sure as shit. Unfortunately, my path in life lead me to only the asshole PE teachers, and they are all I have to base my opinion on. Apparently, the majority of comments and emails point to frighteningly similar experiences, which is a damn shame. Thus the following:
Physical education is a useless waste of money, money that could best be put toward truly important programs such as music, art and after school activities. Now, before some of you scream about how important it is that kids get their exercise, yes, of course it is -- but how many of you really got a good workout while in gym class? Being hit by dodgeballs is hardly a good workout, doing a chin-up or two is not a good workout; PE is nothing but show, and does not teach our youth how to attain fitness or achieve a healthy well-being. There is no obvious benefit to forcing children into embarrassing, sometimes dangerous activities (I broke my arm in third grade after I fell through the open bars of a jungle gym --- I’d begged the gym teacher to not make me climb that high, as I was, and still am, terrified of heights).
Routine PE should be optional after sixth grade, and in subsequent grades, children should be able to pick and choose which activities they feel comfortable with. In lieu of, say, swimming or gymnastics, or asinine things like dodgeball and rope climbing, kids should have instruction on proper nutrition coupled with actual exercise time such as riding a stationary bike or weight training.
I believe in educating our kids, not giving them complexes. But that’s just me, I guess.
As a side note, one of my kids has Asperger's Syndrome, though she can't be pigeon-holed as such -- she displays many of the characteristics, including clumsiness and "confusion" regarding game rules, i.e., you hit the ball, catch the ball, run over there, stay in your position, etc., but confounds the clueless and entirely ignorant doctors by not fitting perfectly into the AS stereotype. I told them to stick their fucking meds and to learn what AS is all about instead of trying to do the "easy" thing. It's amazing how difficult it's been for us to receive proper help here. Anyway, she now receives occupational therapy and is in the special ed. program at school, but is high-functioning, extremely creative, and smart, not to mention gorgeous inside and out. Anyway, she's at the age now where other kids are noticing the "differences," and some bully kid at school spit on her during gym the other day. I promised her that one day, that kid would grow up to be a miserable failure and she will become something great and wonderful.
All of us have something beautiful and unique to contribute to this world, and it hurts my soul to know that many of us are stifled, shamed and bullied into not realizing our beauty, our full potential and worthiness. Children should be respected, listened to and cherished, and if rules must be revised or even broken to achieve a happy and healthy child, well then, I say break the damn rules. It's time we listen to our kids and work out a suitable health program that will not only strengthen their bodies, but their spirits as well.
So, to the entire Department of Education, I say this: Please don’t kill the messengers-- kill the gym teachers.