Monday, February 16, 2015

And then I returned to gym class

For Heaven's sake, why would I do such a thing? I was a geek in school. I'm a geek now. Gym class was the worst part of my week. Not only was I picked dead last for every single everything, sometimes the teams would argue about who had to take me. The best part of college was no gym class.

Granted, since then I have discovered yoga, and also Pilates. So I'm not morally opposed to exercise. But planned group team sports are still not precisely my thing.

And yet there I was, in kiddo's gym class, for Healthy Heart Day. Exercising.

It was cute and all. In one game, if someone tagged you with a noodle (representing junk food), you had to sit on the floor and yell "I need a healthy heart!" until someone else handed you a ball (representing said heart) and you could get up and run around again, passing on the ball to someone else who needs it. In another, there were teams, and pins lined up at either end of the gym, and your job was to guard your pins while trying to knock down the other team's pins with balls. Also, the balls were smallish and super-squishy, not the rock-hard kickballs I remember from my childhood. And the gym teachers were playing No Doubt and other '90s faves the whole time, so that was nice.

It's just, I thought I was showing up to watch kiddo play these games. And then the teachers handed out the noodles to all the parents and I thought, oh no.

Fortunately, I was wearing yoga pants and a hoodie, because I can. Less fortunately, I was afraid to take the hoodie off, because I was wearing my Elfquest T-shirt. Remember how I'm a geek? Elfquest is a much-beloved indie-gone-mainstreamish comic book that features, well, elves. And wolves. And the female elf on my shirt, who in my defense is my favorite character, happens to have a bare midriff. A Captain America T-shirt is one thing; people know who he is. Only fellow comics geeks know what Elfquest is. I couldn't figure out how to explain my slightly racy shirt to the other grown-ups. The upshot? I was unnecessarily sweaty. Bleah.

I even got to play more than kiddo did. We've had some less-than-stellar weeks around here, and as a consequence for acting out -- and then refusing to leave the room when he was asked -- kiddo spent the first few minutes of gym with the guidance counselor. (My request. I didn't like the idea of him sitting there, the "bad kid," watching everyone else play.) So I was already out on the floor, having just been tagged by a kid with a noodle, because the kids got the noodles in the second round and some of the ones I'd tagged came after me for revenge. Those kids are fast. I was just starting to sit down when kiddo came barreling into me, and we went down in a heap together. Then he jumped up and became my protector. "My mom needs a healthy heart! You have to help my mom!"

In the second game, when we were supposed to be protecting the pins (I have no idea what they were representing. A low BMI maybe?), kiddo guarded his pin so intently he didn't move from the spot. Probably not a good choice, because one of the dads shot a ball right through kiddo's legs to get the pin down. Well, at least kiddo is just as athletic as I am.

I guarded the pin in the next couple rounds -- once knocked down, once stayed up -- and I was getting into it, crouching to catch the balls, using one to stop another, diving to my knees, that sort of thing. I don't think we won, but I also don't think it mattered that much. Kiddo had a grand time, and gave me about 20 hugs before heading back to class. "I'll miss you," he called after me.

He's such a sweet kid sometimes. It makes up for so much.

Unfortunately the next morning, all that crouching and diving and running caught up with me, and I woke up sore. Thanks for the warning, gym teachers.

So if you feel your workout isn't challenging enough, I have a suggestion: Join your kid's gym class. Have a heat pack ready.

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