My former classmates at Lyons Township High School would probably look askance at me for even thinking this, but I’m gonna say it anyway: I miss gym class. For me, gym class is like what the environment was for Counting Crows: I didn’t know what I had until it was gone.
Just for review, what did I have, exactly? At my high school, gym went a little something like this: an hour a day dedicated to dressing up in grossly unattractive blue uniforms and then performing some type of physical activity with about twenty other classmates. This activity ranged from the mind-pleasingly easy (“mental relaxation” yoga for dummies bullshit that people like me usually took as an excuse to sleep) to the fun (dodgeball!) to the “oh God please not again I’ll do whatever you want” (running a mile, running 25 minutes with a heart rate strap, pretty much anything that involved running). Not too different, I assume, from everyone’s experience. While it was happening to me, I hated it. Our six-minute passing periods didn’t allow nearly enough time for a shower, so you had to spend the rest of your post-gym day with a sweaty butt. Most people spent gym class bitching about it.
Then again, there were some upsides to the experience. There’s a reason I took gym all four years of high school while many of my friends replaced it with an “athletic study hall” that allowed them to shove one more AP class into their schedules and resumes. Gym class served as a break in the middle of school days that got progressively more stressful as the years passed, a chance to temporarily unplug from the Matrix and take a breath of fresh air in the spring, or take a dip in the pool in winter. Like I said, sometimes these breaks sucked, and left you sweaty and out of breath. But it was usually good to get up from behind a desk and get moving, even if that movement was just stupid running in circles.This was especially good for dorks like me who were too unathletic to participate in organized sports.
Naturally, I didn’t see any of this goodness until I got to college, that magical land of sitting on your butt listening to lectures and sitting on your butt at home reading the approximately 325 pages of reading assigned in said lectures. Maybe this was all just tougher on me as a journalism student, but for most of Fall Quarter, it just felt like if I wasn’t sitting through three hour night classes, I was running around reporting for those classes, stressing out about the deadlines related to that reporting, struggling through mammoth Russian novels, or sitting in my room typing up blog posts and articles for various publications. Not a whole lot of room for exercise there, especially against the backdrop of living on my own for the first time and growing accustomed to the proximity of Fran’s Café and all the late night quesadilla-gorging potential that entails. Winter wasn’t much better. With the (milder than usual, but still) cold preventing me from running, my only options for exercise were SPAC (which might as well be in Chicago for all I know) and Blomquist (which doesn’t have a whole lot going on, plus my friend got hit by a car there, so no thank you). Yeesh. The result is a sedentary lifestyle that kind of makes me wish for those halcyon days of heart rate straps and butt sweat.