SparkNotes Blog

Gym Class Survival Guide

Because the world is a harsh, cruel place, high school students are required to take physical education. While some students love this class, if you’re reading this post, chances are you’re not one of them. Since there is no way to avoid gym unless you’re willing break a bone, catch swine flu, or get a job, we’re here to help you survive this horrific hour. Read and memorize our survival techniques:

Never be goalie. On the surface, goalie seems like an easy position because it involves less running. But as the only thing standing between the opposing team and victory, you will get pummeled with balls—balls composed of rubber from hell that will sting worse than whips made of fire and wasps. And while the physical pain is reason enough to avoid the goal position, the worst pain will come from the taunts and jeers thrown at you by your own teammates, should you fail to block a goal. They don’t make a bandage big enough for that wound.

Never show fear. Either in the locker room or on the field, the most important thing is to be cool. We cannot stress that enough. If you act like an awkward dweeb, your peers (and teacher) will sense your weakness and pounce. If someone throws you the ball, catch it with a look of indifference, instead of a look of terror.

Get (mildly) injured. Don’t worry so much about being hurt. It’s not that bad. In fact, it can even be a good thing. Injured gym class students instantly earn a bit of respect from their classmates, especially if they are able to stand up and limp off the court. Plus, if you’re hurt, you’ll be excused from gym for the rest of the day and you’ll have a great story to tell at lunch. And then the girl/guy you have a crush on will feel sorry for you and will help carry your books…and then fall madly in love with you. (It could happen.)

Don’t fake an injury. The above tactic only works if you are legitimately injured. If you’re a faker, everyone will know. (For instance, you’ll forget which ankle you “sprained.”) After you’ve been caught in a lie, the rest of your high school years will be even worse than they are now. So should it happen, hurry up and graduate.

Laugh. If you trip and fall, laugh. If you miss the ball, laugh. If you get caught wearing Bob the Builder underpants in the locker room, laugh. Laughter will take away any ammo that the bullies can use against you. Besides, if you look at it in a certain way, gym class is pretty hysterical. (Warning: Laugh too much and you’ll be evaluated by the school psychologist.)

Talk to the gym teacher. While the gym teacher may be scary and enigmatic, try to open up the lines of communication. (Asking about carbs is always a great ice breaker.) Eventually, the gym teacher will warm up and stop picking on you and your inability to do a proper squat-thrust. But don’t get too chummy with her, for gym teachers are scary people who may reveal haunting details about their past. (Think about it: They dedicated their lives to making teenagers sweat. What kind of person does that?) You want to become the teacher’s acquaintance, not his friend.

Don’t complain. Any sigh, grunt, or eye roll will lead to more laps. Keep complaining, and you will be forced to clean up the equipment at the end of class, making you late, and smelly, for your next period. So suck it up. Besides, things could be worse. You could be in a math class/gym class hybrid.

Don’t show off. This is more of a problem for guys than gals, but only two things can happen if you try to impress the world. A) You fail and look stupid. B) You succeed and look arrogant. Neither option works. Be humble. Don’t brag. And one day you will become president of the universe…or Michael Phelps.

Don’t wear jean shorts. Jean shorts are so 1990s. Besides, they chafe.

Remember everything. You are going through hell right now. But years later, you will be able to use these real-life horror stories to impress and entertain people at parties. Eventually, you can scare your grandkids with tales of a gym class that didn’t require helmets or hover-belts.

Related post: Awkward Moment? Keyboard Cat to the Rescue!

We want to hear your real-life gym horror stories!