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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gym-Dandy? Not Very! (Part I of II)

In case you're just joining us after a long absence away from “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”, you're just in time to witness the second installment of “Whatever Wednesday”. Previously known as “All-Request Wednesday”. Previously known as “The Wednesday Gift Shop”. Previously known as “Across The Pond and Beyond Wednesdays”.

Yep, as you can see, Wednesdays have always been a point of frustration for this blogger.

So for Wednesdays, I thought that I would leave it up to fate to choose my topic of discussion.

I managed to find an old “Clue” board game and grabbed all of the different coloured character cards from the game. I then assigned each card one of the theme days that you might see later on in the week. To recap, here's the character cards and the theme days that they represent.

MISS SCARLET: Sunday Jukebox
MRS. WHITE: Saturday Smorgasbord (weeks 3-5)
MR. GREEN: Saturday Smorgasbord (weeks 1-2)
MRS. PEACOCK: Friday Night in the TV Guide
PROFESSOR PLUM: Thursday Diary

So, I have all of the cards inside of a plastic bag, and I will now draw one at random.

Looks like today is a Professor Plum kind of day. So, this week, I'll be doing a Wednesday Diary entry in addition to a Thursday Diary entry. But that's cool. I have plenty to talk about.

So, what will I be talking about in the first of two diary entries? Well, I've decided to make this a 2-parter.  Part 2 will begin tomorrow, but here's Part 1 for you. It will set up the story for tomorrow.

September 18, 2013

I have to come clean to all of you reading this right now. I've had kind of a love-hate relationship with physical activity.

I'm not exactly sure where this volatile relationship started, but when I was a child, I was not exactly the most active person out there...which probably might explain why I ballooned up to over 300 pounds by the time I was in high school. But when it came to physical activity, I really found it a bother to even try getting healthy. I kind of laughed it off in a sense.

Now, before you hang that necklace with the scarlet “L” on it (the “L” standing for laziness) around my neck, I just want to make a few things clear.

Firstly, I was a kid who suffered from childhood asthma to the point where I was hospitalized for a severe attack when I was seven, and which forced me to miss approximately eighteen days of school throughout the fifth grade. Trying to keep up to the other kids in the class was extremely hard for me back then because I was always winded and out of breath. I just could not do it.

Secondly, I have already expressed my dislike of physical education classes in both elementary and high school. I hated the fact that my teachers would only grade me on athletic ability instead of the effort I gave in class. It wasn't fair that kids who hardly even tried in class received a better grade than I did.

And lastly, I was someone who try as he might was never skilled in any sport. I couldn't dunk a basketball into a basket, I couldn't kick a soccer ball into a net, and when I tried to hit a baseball with a bat, I ended up nearly breaking my nose in the ninth grade.

You want to know what all of those things are? They're excuses.

Of course as a child who was tired of getting picked on by classmates and teachers about his lack of athletic ability, I never saw it that way. But now that I am an adult now and look back at that time, I can see why I was such a poor student in gym class.

I mean, sure, my asthma did cause me a whole lot of childhood health problems which affected my stamina in gym class. That was something that I couldn't change back then. I just sort of learned to adapt to having it. Now I'm at the point where it is a non-issue and I have a better grasp at controlling my breathing to the point where I am no longer winded. I suppose if I really wanted to, I could have done some exercises that would have improved my breathing abilities so I didn't tire out in gym class all the time.

And when it came down to my grades in physical education classes, I have to say that yes, it was frustrating to be graded down by my teachers. But given how much grief I got over my athletic ability (or lack thereof), I guess it got to the point where I simply stopped caring. I even went out of my way to get out of doing activities by pretending that I didn't know how to do them.

As for my athletic ability? Well, I still suck at sports. I make no apologies for that. I don't even think I know how to toss a football correctly. I still don't know how to use a skipping rope. And, don't even get me started on hula hoops!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, yes, gym class was rough. Gym class was terrible. Gym class probably did more harm to my self-worth than any other class in school – and that is unfortunate, given that gym class was supposed to teach a person how to live a healthy, active lifestyle.

As a result of my bad experiences in gym class, I decided that staying active and getting exercise was not worth it. In gym class, I asked for people to help me improve my skills, and I asked the teachers to consider the fact that while I was not the best student in class, I was trying. But instead, they completely ignored me and left me behind to play with those stupid scooters while they focused their attentions on the star athletes in the class. I seem to even remember one instance in eighth grade where I was actually thrown out of gym class for defending myself against the kids in my class who were teasing me.

With the attitudes that I was shown in those classes, it's not hard to see why I turned my back on a healthy lifestyle. If a supposed “healthy lifestyle” meant being harassed and made fun of by the students and teachers in the class, my attitude was like “no thank you, please pass the triple chocolate fudge ice cream and I'll just eat the whole carton”.

Is it any wonder why I spent the majority of my teenage years binge eating?

And you know something? When I look back on it, I think to myself that when it came to all of the abuse that I took in gym class, I didn't deserve it. I didn't deserve any of it. The more I look back on it, if one person even so much as cared to help me learn and grow, and taught me that getting active didn't mean being the best at everything, it would have made all the difference in the world. My elementary and high schools had this whole idea that “winning was everything”. With the exception of my ninth grade gym teacher who was absolutely fair and just in his grading and who actually took the time to get to know me, the rest just walked away and focused on the kids who actually could win the sports tournaments.

It hurt. I won't lie.

It really wasn't until the last couple of years that I decided to do a complete turn around. I joined a competition at work in which the goal was to lose weight, and I did extremely well. For the first time since I was...well...a teenager, I actually felt great and looked great.

And then I had my gall bladder removed and I gained half of the weight back as a side effect of the surgery, and went right back to being self-conscious again. Not as bad as I used to be, mind you...but still, there's a little inkling of doubt that I have about myself.

I mean, I look at where I am now, and I've overcome a lot of obstacles to get to this point.

But yet, there's more that I could be doing to make sure that I have the healthiest life possible...and yet, it's also the one thing that causes me the most fear.

TO BE CONTINUED 9/19/2013...

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