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Assuming the Fetal Position

In an exercise class full of athletic beefcakes, I am at their mercy. They could easily shatter my body with a single dodgeball, razing me to the ground in a heap of concussed panic, rendering me broken and paralyzed with fear. This has always been a typical gym class for me.

Physical education is the final general education course I need to complete in order to graduate from college. I’ve been dreading this one, however, because I am not coordinated. To complete this requirement, I wanted to take a low-stakes yoga course or another independent sport with no potential for concussions. I thought this class was going to discuss nutrition and healthy habits. I was dead wrong. I may have signed my own death warrant.

Meet my gym partner.

Don’t get me wrong. I work out. I have a routine. But I still feel underprepared for contact sports with athletic, 6-foot-tall hunks who major in Exercise Science, lift in their spare time, and are probably personal trainers on the weekend. I am a twig and they could snap me in half.

As we were doing the cringe-inducing round-the-room introductions, I confessed my fears. I told them my name, major, and my thoughts on meeting my maker in the not-too-distant future. I actually got a few laughs, but my panic was sincere. I’m not just playing the victim here. I am the victim!

I am one of two girls who admitted to being uncoordinated ball-magnets. The other 93% of the class is comprised of athletic women and  beefy guys averaging 5’11”. I am most likely going to get pounded with a ball sometime within the next 15 weeks, but I will also have human shields all around me. I just have to learn how to use them properly.

Not only do we have to participate in contact sports, but we have to run unthinkable distances. I only like running when I’m being chased. But I have to run 1.5 miles next week! NEXT WEEK! I meant to start running this summer, which would have made this easier, but I decided not to improve my life in any way instead. Not only do I have to run a ridiculous distance next week, but later this semester, the class is going to run through town. The total distance on that leisurely jog? THREE AND A HALF MILES. If I’m not dead after the 1.5 mile run next week, that 3.5 miles is surely going to do me in.

Here lies Shayne, the inadequate slug who just couldn’t hack it.

I’m an academic. My brain is not in my muscles. This is normally something I take pride in, but it will not help me twice a week for the next fifteen weeks. I hope this class whips me into shape. I guess exercise is exercise: It doesn’t matter if I’m participating in sports or actively trying not to get hit with the ball. Maybe I’ll be okay.

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