How Fitness Was Beaten Out Of Most Of Us

Gym class used to be the best class, right? Way back…

I don’t at which grade the school system decides to switch it from literally being fun and games to being torture, I guess it varies from school to school, but they seem determined to turn it into the worst class… but only for some people. Suddenly it was the army and they wanted you wash out.

Maybe I just never saw it but I don’t remember any kid being completely given up on in math. Like, oh he doesn’t intuitively know how to do this, fuck’em forever. Math class taught you math and dragged you along kicking and screaming if need be, gym class just made you run without ever teaching you anything about running.

And a running habit can be the difference between death in your 50s and death in your 90s and doing it wrong can destroy your body. You lectured us about drugs and alcohol for those very same reasons but you couldn’t give us one fucking day about not heel-striking?

In science class if you did badly on an assignment that meant there was something you needed to know and didn’t. In gym the assignment was just play basketball, if it didn’t turn out well – if you failed it completely – oh well, that’s just how the score shook out.

It turned into the haves and the have-nots of athletic ability rather then the naturals and the need-to-learns of a skill. There was a stupid catch 22 gate keeper effect that if you wanted to learn to get better at football, you had to be good enough to get on the football team.

And man, when I tried out for any team sports it was hell. The teachers are indifferent at best because they only want to coach the naturals because they’re lazy and actually not good at coaching and the other kids are fucking cruel because easy social status.

So the jocks and nerd false-dichotomy was born in us. We didn’t want to go near anything athletic, and we wanted to disparage those who did, because our egos were trained by the neglect of adults that it wasn’t safe for us.

Fuck you again, school.

Luckily time marches forward. Nostalgia and the fact that no one’s ashamed of being infantilized anymore lead to the creation of adult dodgeball leagues, ultimate frisbee (or anything involving frisbees and obsessively calling them discs), and so forth which allows people to go back and enjoy fitness from before it got shitty.

And for the rest of us who had to get into the gym because we were literally dying it was great to find that as adults there are no gate keepers. Fitness is everywhere and everyone wants you to get into it, especially if they want your money.

Your doctor, your romantic partner, your bank, your job, they all want you to be into fitness, the social media feedback loop will optimize your brain to be into fitness if you search for or post about it even once.

So yes, as with everything school let us down. People love to bitch about how school didn’t teach them to handle money or to change a tire but fail to be angry that all they taught us about our bodies was the anatomy of dicks.

Like, thank god I know the term philopian tube. Which, with a quick google search, I now know is spelled fallopian and isn’t in the dick so really, again, fuck you school.

Did you know they teach powerlifting in elementary school in China?

But bless you internet, am I right? Everything you should have learned in school is at the tips of your fingers.

Jeff Cavaliere is the coach all of us needed and didn’t get.

Thomas DeLauer is the nutritionist-as-scientist that school should have in the classroom and in the cafeteria.

Kelly Starrett is the gym coach-as-philosopher that pulls it all together into real life.

Jeff Nippard and Stephanie Buttermore are the cool jock kids who are so cool they’ll talk to everybody.

Part of trauma therapy is going back and rewriting it so it goes how you want, so the story is the story you want, and we can do that. We can reclaim the natural love of movement and athleticism that was taken away from us when we were too young to defend ourselves from a broken system.

Get fit, fight back.


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