Largest Loser: Day 2 Gym Class Re-visited

I’m standing in a field with K. my “Largest Loser” trainer, getting “benchmarked” and I’m having a flashback.

Mr. Stang

It’s not really fair to K, who seems like a super nice, stand up guy. It’s not his fault that I was traumatized by a similarly sized, shaped and aged gym teacher, many moons ago.  I can’t hold him accountable for the crimes of coaches past.

Stang was a bastard. But even as I say that, I can’t hate him completely. The gym teacher of both my elementary and high school years, I got to suffer him twice. I was the good girl, the straight A student, but he could give a crap. So what that I was a talented and strong gymnast. My hand/eye coordination was for crap. I could not win his approval. I was destined to be an easy out at dodgeball. It was like he wanted me to be the last one picked for a softball team.

He’d comment sarcastically. Something along the lines of, “You gonna hit the ball for once, Blumenfeld?”

Mr Stang never recorded your vital stats in private. He’d yell out your weight and height in front of the whole grade, so that the most attractive boy in the grade above yours, the one who was “coach’s assistant” for the day, could hear you weighed 80 lbs clear over there on the far bleachers, where he’d make a note of that on Mr Stang’s clipboard.

When I had an emergency appendectomy and couldn’t take gym for a couple of weeks, Mr Stang told the class that I was “incapacitated”. He said it in a sarcastic gym teacher way that made it clear what he really thought, was that I was weak. Anyone with true grit would heaved themselves up that rope dangling in the middle of the gym till they popped a few stitches.

I should probably hate him but he’s almost too epic to hate. It’s too late.  He looms too large in my personal narrative. He was Sue Sylvester from Glee, crossed with the gym teacher from that stupid Billy Bob Thornton movie that I’m oh so proud of having watched (so proud that I forgot the title). Every story needs a villian and a surly gym teacher is an excellent specimen. Their not-so-serious-you-need-therapy abuse is relatively palatable. Character building even.Especially when you realize they aren’t singling you out. They hate half the students they’ve ever met.

I ran track in High School just to show Mr Stang. Incapacitated. My ass.

K was kind today, almost apologetic as he put us through the paces. But it’s almost impossible to subject yourself to a weigh in, followed by a mile run, push ups, sit ups, planks and flexibility tests without feeling like you’re back in grade school again.

Enter Stang.

It’s not K’s fault. I can’t pin it on K. Whenever I’m pissed off with the shape I’m in, I always hear Mr Stang. He’s in my head. He’s a part of me. He’s walking across my psyche wearing a net bag of balls slung over his shoulder and a sneer on his face at my lame attempts to run that mile. He doesn’t tell me to walk the straightaways in a nice way. He says it like I’ve failed. You do what you’ve gotta do… Loser.

Mr Stang was not impressed with my 33 sit ups and 17 push ups today. Not one little bit. It’s probably a good thing I asked not to hear my weight and BMI and didn’t pay attention to my mile time. Because Mr Stang would have been harsh, you guys.

That bastard.

It wasn’t all bad. My blood pressure was awesome. Which is pretty amazing considering I was possessed by an old mean gym teacher. You would have thought my blood would be boiling.

Note: I have no good reason for using that picture with the manatee temp tattoo above other than to say I sort of wish Mr Stang would come back as a manatee in his next life, and be forced to play a lotta dodgeball with porpoises. 



  1. Jessica @peekababy says

    I must admit that, assuming the middle-aged female gym teacher that I had in high school is still alive, she is probably having nightmares about me! I basically refused to comply with anything she told me to do, and once refused to attempt a somersault unless age would do one first–she actually injured herself. Oops.

  2. Leslie says

    Needed this today – thanks for the laugh! We are in the process of getting our own Stang out of my oldest’s life. We’ve often said that we’ll be laughing about our “Stang” for years (although he just crapped on my kid for the last time last week). Good luck with your program!!!!!

  3. says

    Those manatee tats are in serious demand around here. My daughter and ALL her friends were sporting them. When they started to wear off, they touched up with sharpie.

  4. says

    We all have a psyche that tells us the stuff we don’t want to hear. Kind of fun that yours has a name and a nice hateable face to go with it!

  5. says

    As the girl who was always picked last for activities in gym class,because I’m the least athletic gal you can imagine, I can relate. But, you had gymnastics talent, were strong and didn’t let Mr. Stang get you down (too much). Love your Sue Sylvester reference, too. Makes me glad my little girl is strong and appears to be athletic (like my hubby).

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