Pip R. Lagenta|
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Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
|Neither The Ability Nor The Inclination
There were no Physical Education teachers at my High School during the time that I attended that school.
That is not to say that there were no people at my High School who were called "P.E. Teachers". We certainly had men and women who were employed at my High School under the title of "Physical Education Teacher", but that was a misnomer. They did not actually engage in any teaching. They were babysitters.
The babysitters could not teach anything, even if they wanted to. They did not want to do any teaching, and that was O.K. because they did not have teaching skills. They had neither the ability, nor the inclination to do any teaching, whatsoever.
The P.E. classes consisted of simple directives such as "go play Baseball", "go play basketball", or "lift weights". A student who did not know the rules of a particular game or sport going into the P.E. class, also did not know the rules of that particular game or sport coming out of the P.E. class.
Now, in point of fact, I learned to play tennis in High School. It happened like this: the babysitter pointed at me, turned to another student and said "teach him the rules of tennis." I enjoyed tennis in High School. It was the one sport we played in High School that I knew all the rules of.
Basketball was another story. No one bothered with teaching me the rules of that one. When the babysitter told us to "go play basketball", I would go out and run around the court. If I ever got the ball, someone would yell "double dribble", and they would take the ball away from me. Always the same thing: "double dribble". I never did find out what that "double dribble" thing was. At least it was consistent.
Baseball was a completely different tale of dreadfulness. Each time we went out to play baseball, I got caught by a different rule. It was something new every time. The only thing I learned in High School, about the rules of baseball, is something that I figured out for myself: the rules of baseball are very similar to the rules of Fizzbin.
I quickly got a reputation as a very poor baseball player. But, in fact, in High School, I could hit the ball with reasonable success . . . considering that I was never given any chance to practice hitting a baseball with a bat. I could not play baseball well because I had never been taught the rules of the game, not because I had no skill with ball or bat. My misleading reputation as a poor baseball player resulted in my one, and only, home run.
I hit one home run playing High School baseball. (And just for the record, the only time I ever played baseball was in High School.) I could not have gotten that home run if I did not have a reputation as a spectacularly poor baseball player.
It happened like this: In the batting order I was dead last. When, at length, I got my first chance up at bat, the captain of the opposing team acted on my reputation. He called all of his outfielders in to the infield. If I am a poor baseball player, then that must mean that I can’t hit the ball, right? Wrong. I popped the ball into the outfield and ran the basses like the Hounds of Hell were snapping at my heels. The players on the opposing team scrambled into the outfield after the ball, but I was home before they touched it.
They never made that mistake again, and so, I never made another home run.
Pip R. Lagenta