Thursday, May 21, 2009

The nightmare across the street

We live right across the street from a park bordering an elementary school. Usually the kids stay on the playground in the back, and we only hear the whistles blowing in the distance.

One or two days a year, however, they set up cones in the park and MAKE THE CHILDREN RUN AROUND AND AROUND. I can't tell you what a chill this sends down my back - hopefully if you're reading this, it also brings back nightmarish memories of your childhood. I have such terrible memories of gym, and gym class, and gym teachers, and especially the Presidential Fitness Program (which I suspect this running is part of).

Newsflash: Children don't exercise like adults - they don't get on the eliptical for an hour every night to catch the re-run of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report - they play. By themselves, with each other, with pets and birds and bugs. Kids should play, not exercise.

What's ridiculous is that as much as I hated gym, I grew up into a person who runs. But I became this in spite of the horrible physical education I received at the hands of our public school system. That education taught me that I hated any form of exercise, and, moreover, I wasn't capable of it. It took me years to overcome that training - and when I did, I found that I was burdened with a weight of shame, self-doubt, and hate-talk that I learned at the hands of masters. These same types of masters I hear "cheering" on their children every Saturday morning:
Move, move, move!
It's right in front of you, get it! GET IT!
What are you doing? Wake up!
What was THAT??
Come ON!