The Gray Line Tour: It’s time to vent on P.E.

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 1, 2002


I’m the first one to admit it – I hated physical education class, especially once I got to high school.

The way it worked back then, many years ago, when dinosaurs still ruled the Earth, organized team sports were the rule. And if you weren’t on the team, you just showed up, dressed out, and you got a “C.”

Now, try and picture me during those tender years, 13-17 years of age. I averaged around 100 pounds, soaking wet. By the time I got through four years of high school, I weighed in at 115 pounds.

Add to that my absolute and complete absence of athletic ability or skills and lack of knowledge of virtually any sport, and you can see how ill-suited I was for physical education.

I might have enjoyed basketball. I never the opportunity to find out. I never played, not even in P.E. class. After the others picked teams, I wandered off to another part of the gym, feeling useless and unwanted. I didn’t actually find out how many players there were to a basketball team until I was already out of six years of college. Nobody bothered to try and teach me anything. To this day, I’ve never watched a single NBA game. Ever.

On baseball, I’m even worse. While I did manage to get into a handful of pick-up ball games in neighborhood vacant lots, I couldn’t hit, run or throw.

To this day, I’m yet to watch a single major-league baseball game. Name any team and I couldn’t even tell you whether they were National League or American League.

One thing I could do in high school was chin-ups. While others struggled to manage three or four, I pumped my stick-thin arms rapidly past 12 or 15, then asking the teacher if that was enough.

Not now. Not 100 pounds later.

Of course, working for more than a decade as a sportswriter has taught me a few things about various sports without actually playing them. Let’s just say my sports knowledge is academic.

So when I hear of a movement afoot to ban dodgeball in P.E. classes, all I can say is where’s the petition and where do I sign?

To me, that’s just supervised aggravated battery, and if the same thing was done in the schoolyard, some of the students would face penalties ranging from suspension to expulsion to arrest.

Just call me a spokesman for the undersized, underweight and unathletic. You have my support and sympathy.

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur. He may be reached at (985) 652-9545.