Tuesday, August 21, 2012
When I was a junior high student, we were required to take a P.E. class. Our teacher was Mrs. Binks--a sleek, muscular woman who, as I recall, had a perm in her fe-mullet and wore lots of blue eyeshadow with white eyeliner. I dreaded her class. Because 1. I hate sports (a frustrating and painful combination of being highly competitive and completely uncoordinated) and 2. I had huge boobs, even then. (Ah, junior high. A bundle of awkwardness.) Anyway. Every day, I would shlump into class and moan about whatever it was we were required to do that day. Badminton? Yuck. Volleyball? Ick. Basketball? Kill me now. But the worst? The much dreaded and yearly required one mile run.
A windy day. Everyone standing around in their baggy shorts and baggy t-shirts. I have tried to get out of this in every possible way, including getting truly sick, but it's no use. I have to make it around the track 4 times. Mrs. Binks blows the whistle and off we go. Digging in stubbornly, I set off at a walk. A slow walk. An "I'll show YOU one mile" walk. Some of the girls fly around the track, finish their 4 laps, and flop on to the grass for the rest of the hour. Some of the girls jog persistently with their friends, chatting.
I get slower and slower, the gravel of the track crunching under my feet.
I finish dead last.
I hate P.E. and, I vow, no one will ever force me to run one mile.
Fast forward almost 18 years. I am still completely uncoordinated. My boobs are bigger than ever. The track is not gravel, but a red clay silt, muddy from recent rain. I pull on Saucony's and a knee brace, and I begin to run.
And the impossible: four.
I ran a mile, and no one even made me.
And you know what? I came home, looked up Mrs. Binks, and sent her a message on facebook. Just to let her know: I finally ran a mile.
Let's hear it for teachers everywhere, teaching hard lessons that it may take their students almost two decades to learn.