I am definitely not one to limit myself, but there are some things that I'm just not good at.
Remember that episode of Drake & Josh where Drake is failing out of gym? I still remember the way his sister, Megan, rolled her eyes and asked, "How do you fail gym? All you have to do is show up!" I guess it stayed with me because I found it so relatable. After all, gym had always been an easy A for me. Since elementary school, physical education has worked like this: You change into athletic clothes, enter the room, do whatever the teacher tells you to do, and ace the class. I never remember feeling like I had to be an athlete in order to avoid losing points from my GPA and ditch dirty looks from the other kids. I assumed that there was no way the teacher could ever reprimand a student simply for not having athletic skills.
This year, however, I learned that this is not always the case.
Every single morning, I set aside a few extra minutes to walk downstairs, get on our family's desktop computer in the basement, log-in to our school website and check to see whether or not we have gym class that day. On days that I accidentally sleep in, this often means skipping breakfast or my morning visit to our dogs. But I always do it, because I know that it's my responsibility to be prepared for gym. Just like I can't leave for school unless I know I have all my homework done, I always make sure I have my gym clothes.
But none of that matters once I step foot in the auditorium for gym. The past couple of weeks, we have been playing handball, which has been the most difficult unit for me this year. First of all, I am about half the size of most of the other people in our eleventh grade class. Let me just say -- there is nothing more terrifying than standing in front of a tiny net with 15 people that tower over you charging full-speed in your direction. They are loud and are usually being led by the football star who has a ball in his fists held high above his head.
In that situation, I can't focus on the fact that if I don't put my hands up and run after the ball, I will get a bad gym grade. I'm not thinking about the concept of gym being factored into my GPA, the most important three letters in a high school student's life. All I can think about is "run away." Cover your face and turn your head. And when this happens dozens of times per gym class, you end up with a pretty lousy grade for the day.
What disappoints me is that I very clearly remember breathing a sigh of relief after hearing the gym teacher's speech on the first day of school. His exact words were, "I don't expect you to be an athlete. Just make sure you've moving each class and you'll do very well." So why is my gym grade lower than my math average and the score on my Puritan beliefs essay?
I guess it all goes back to people's understanding of each other. The gym teacher probably sees me turning away from the ball and looks at it as a lack of effort. I will stand by my belief that all you can really ever do is your best, and if it's not enough for someone else, then don't lose sleep over it.
I can guarantee one thing, though, I will be on my way to school tomorrow with my sweatshirt, gym shoes and game face.