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