Gym Class Ruined Sports For Me

I am not a huge fan of sports or exercise. There, I said it. There were times in my life when I enjoyed being more active, but most of the time, I rather avoid any sort of physical exercise. I don’t deny the importance of moderate exercise, but I also think that there are more exciting things in life to do than do something that you hate. But why would I hate exercise? Gosh, there are so many reasons for that, but I think the main one is: gym class.

Gym Class

Were you the fat kid at school? Were you the chubby short chick that wasn’t great at running, or jumping? No? Then you might not be able to relate to this. For us, the fat kids, the ones that were not necessarily understood as physically able, gym class was almost traumatizing. It was the perfect ground for bullying, for being shown how inadequate you are. And you know what? Gym class did not prepare for me life. Other than that it taught me that I am unwanted, that my body type is not normal and that it is okay to laugh and point at those that fail.

My view of sports got affected by gym class at school, especially during my teenage years when I felt awkward about my body anyway. Up until I was about 12 years old, I loved swimming, I loved being in water, to swim for hours, dive. I come from a town by the Baltic Sea so my summers were spent at the beach, in the water, with friends. I even joined a swimteam when I was 7 years old and I won some competitions. But as I grew older, the bullying about my body shape got worse, and I eventually (and still do) felt very uncomfortable being in swim wear around others. So I stopped doing the one sport activity that I enjoyed.

Gym class at school sucked. I always got picked last. No one wanted me on their team because they assumed I would fail them. And if someone ended up with me on their team, I was the one sitting on the bench. I was bad at gymnastics. I mean, chubby short girl jumping over stuff? Holding on to rings? Climbing up ropes? I tried in the beginning, I really did. But already as a child, my fellow class mates laughed at me. When I was 8 years old I had to go to special gym class because I had the lowest grade among everyone.

The older I got, the smarter I became at avoiding gym class. I admit that I sucked at sports. I would have taken the bad grade. But I couldn’t stand the bullying anymore. The laughing. The name calling. Another overweight girl from my class was lucky enough to get a paper from her doctor saying that gym class was bad for her well-being and anxiety and she should be allowed to skip it. And she was allowed to do so. I was so jealous!

So what did I do? I came up with all sorts of excuses and tricks. If we were out running tracks, I walked the tracks and listened to music. When we were out running in the forest, I took a short cut and smoked a cigarette. I was wearing a fake bandage all over my left arm for about three months, saying I severely burnt myself. Sometimes I said I had bad period cramps. a cold, allergies. I tried everything. Sometimes I just didn’t go at all. As a matter of fact, I almost didn’t graduate from high school because of low attendance at gym class. I had A’s in all the major subjects, I am great at academia. But fucking sports almost put an end to any further studies for me. (I eventually begged my gym teacher to give me at least 1 point, and he did!).

And Then I Exercised

So gym class ruined sports for me, and team sports even more so. I didn’t want to play with others, at all. I connected it with bullying, being humiliated, and disappointing others. It was first in my late 20s, that I took up exercise. It wasn’t really free of choice. I had to lose some weight for health reasons. So I did. I exercised an hour every day. For over two years. Now, you might think that is extreme. But if you have two hormonal illnesses that make you overweight and slow down your metabolism, that is the amount of exercise you need to do just to keep your weight. Unfair, isn’t it? But I did it.

And I hated every minute of it. I cried through it. And I never got an adrenaline rush out of it. I didn’t feel better after. I picked something that I could do at home (I had an exercise bike and some other equipment), without anyone being around to laugh at me or judge me. Still, I hated every minute of it. I took it as a necessary evil, something I had to do to stay healthy. Up until it was suggested to me that exercising that much while eating only around 1000 calories a day apparently is disorderly.

Staying Active

A declining mental health and months on end spent at the hospital meant that I lost my exercise routines. And with psychiatric medication making me gain a lot of weight again, took my motivation to exercise away from me to try again. Add to that chronic neurological issues caused by said medication that make exercising almost torturous, and the chronic fatigue I am experiencing, exercise is not on the plan for me.

Well, at least not the sort of exercise that I used to do, or that others would classify as exercise. I take walks when I can. Some days a 10 minute walk is almost too much for me, other days, I can walk for a couple of hours. I don’t see it as exercise as much as trying to stay active with the capacities that I have. Chronic fatigue really makes it hard to decide to put that little energy that you have into exercise, especially if I might have to pay for it later by having lost all my spoons.

I get that exercise is supposed to be good for you. And for some people, team sports are fun. And I know that even some fat people enjoy sports. I respect that. But for me, gym class ruined any remotely positive approach towards sports and exercising. And even when I exercised, it was always just a chore, something I hated but had to do. I will never be a sporty person. And that is okay. No one is great at everything.

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16 Responses

  1. May More says:

    You know that is so right – we can not be good at everything or enjoy everything. I think a lot of people exercise because they think they have to – and often that’s good as it helps with their health but i would hope it would prove enjoyable too. I think life is a journey and u may like something tomorrow u never considered today. The beauty of the human mind is to be open and u never know even thou sports will never float your boat something else might x

    • Naomi & Rex says:

      Rex here! I loved individual sports. I was a skinny uncoordinated kid who, like you was picked last! I hate sport now. The idea of beating someone upsets me. So I exercise now on a cross trainer and road bike! Compete only against myself…and I always win somehow! Naomi loves exercise…walking, swimming…yoga…pilates…sex!
      Love you posts my girl. You’re quite delightful and gorgeous!
      Rex (for a change!)

    • I totally agree. A lot of people exercise because they think they have to, not because they enjoy it. It is what society keeps telling us though, that we need to exercise: to be slim and to be healthy. But I think lots of people would have way more fun dancing to their favourite music or going on a walk than the traditional exercise (read: torture lol) at the gym.

  2. Posy Churchgate says:

    Well Devie – I can totally relate to gym class ruining sports! I was a bit weedy, always picked last for teams – these legs that get praise now looked thin and spindly at primary school – they cant run or swim fast. I was also un-coordinated.
    I’ve been waiting my whole life to find a sport that I’m not rubbish at. Better still to find one I enjoy. I don’t even like walking, although walking my dogs has always given me pleasure. Pilates – that is the one thing I enjoy.
    You have had so much to contend with, it’s no wonder you found no pleasure in sport but I admire you for taking the steps you do to stay healthy.
    Your photos tell a different story about your body – it is fierce, you look strong and sassy and even if sometimes you are ‘faking it’ you put the Grrr into Girl! Stunning.

    • Oh, it is terrible that gym class at school can have such a negative effect on people, and take away the joy for sports. I am sorry to hear that you had to deal with that sort of negativity too. It is good that you have found something that works for you now! Thanks so much for your kind words, Posy <3

  3. slave sindee says:

    As a youth soccer coach, i feel extremely bad to hear these stories. i have coached girls soccer for over 20 years and have had girls of all sizes and shapes come out and learn the game. i try hard to remind parents( as some are overbearing) that games are meant to be FUN.
    I delight that you try to do your best in keeping active
    You know i lovey our blog

  4. I’m sad that this story was not unpredictable. Certainly a different time in adolescence. I didn’t do swim team because I didn’t want to wear a Speedo in public. Imagine that, right?

  5. slave sindee says:

    i coach club and there is a limit to the number i have on my team. But i train other girls that want to come and work out with us. thru the years i have coached many girls who didn’t have the self confidence or a weight problem but they enjoyed what i am doing and stuck it out.
    i really believe life is about helping others and being of service to others

    • It is all about being inclusive and motivating, and you know, most gym teachers and coaches really don’t have that in them because they are competitive and judgmental towards those that are not naturally athletic. I am sure you are a great coach from what you say here, we need more Sindees in the world!

  6. jupitergrant says:

    Yep, I was that kid, too, and I think it’s the reason I hate sports as well. So much horrific bullying.

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