Teachers often mistake my vibrant reluctance to play the game with disrespect for them personally, which is really not true. Unfortunately for both parties I can only go so far in respecting them that I start disrespecting me. I won’t respect them because they’re older than me, or because I have to call them by their last name. I won’t respect them because they are honestly trying to give me an education or because they have the ability to give me detention. I will respect them because they are fellow human beings and being a human being is hard enough without having people being dicky to you.
To many people my gracious and not quite conventional attitude to the world would be regarded as a ‘problem with authority’. I’m not really sure I understand this. I have no problem with authority, I just don’t take it seriously. It’s all very well to tell me what to do, but the least you can do is give me a good reason why.
The school motivational system basically entails the following:
Student: “I don’t want to”
School: “Do this and we will give you a brightly coloured piece of paper with your name on it”
Student: “I can do that all on my own, thank you”
School: “…okay. But if you put in five of these we will give you $2 to spend on sugar”
Student: “I already have $2 and I still don’t want to do it”
Teacher: *sighs* “fine, if you don’t do it we will have to put you in a room for fifteen minutes with air conditioning during a heatwave”
Student: “That’s cool with me. See you at lunch”
You can see how hopeless the whole system is.
The best example I can give on how morally corrupt the school system is my well loathed cross country, which it essentially running in a big goddamn circle that unless you win is going to make you feel kinda crappy about yourself. I can understand how some people find joy in running in big goddamn circles and I am perfectly willing to let them continue running in big goddamn circles but for everyone else, it’s just running in a big goddamn circle.
The unfortunate truth is that no matter how many times your PE teachers says its not about winning the person who comes last is still going to feel really, really terrible and quite frankly I am beyond not cool with participating in something that is inevitably going to make quite a few people feel crappy and embarrassed. The question is how much do you have to want to win that you go so far as to make other people feel bad. I realise that of course this is not the aim of the competition but it is a side effect and people have to start taking responsibility for that.
There are always going to be things that people are going to force us to do but I don’t believe that being forced into doing things that both bring you no pleasure and will serve no good effects on you and the people around you is something that should be done as a practice. It’s like being bullied by your boss. Sure, it’s good to do what your boss says but that doesn’t mean that you have to put up with anything that makes you feel crappy and doesn’t serve any real purpose.
I also find many PE lessons quite disrespecting towards me as a person. Consider this: many times in my life people have asked me why I won’t do sports and often it’s the normal reasons. I’m too hot or I’m just feeling lazy, but in general my first and foremost answer is ‘I have better things to do’. Every second of my life that they take away from me while I’m being pointlessly forced into running in big goddamn circles is a second I could be using to do more interesting, productive and more happiness enforcing things.
When it comes to the various institutions in my life I have many a few choice words but unfortunately the people that are at the mercy to these institutions aren’t being paid to listen to me while they honestly can’t do anything about it, so all I can to is state my own hopefully subtle protests.

One comment

  1. Rachel · March 17, 2014

    I always relate to your anti- sport rants because, like you, I think I ws born without that competitive chip and it all sometimes seems rather absurd (despite the fact I enjoy watching others, especially Tim and Henry, playing cricket).
    I can also relate to this blog, though, about the happiness exercise can bring. Maybe not the shouty, coercive school version of exercise ( PE teachers have a lot to answer for…), but something more relaxing and challenging at the same time…preferably outdoors in the sunshine. Would be interested to hear what you think:

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