Let’s start a new series today, shall we? One where we travel back to a time not so long ago when Nsync was telling everyone “bye bye bye,” there were three Law & Orders, you could still bring liquids on a plane, and I was forced to take gym class.
Picture it: a lovely spring day. The weather has cleared up and it’s time for the gym classes to head outdoors for a new unit: softball. The problem with softball is that when you have to bat, everyone is watching you. There’s no way to escape the scrutiny of your peers and their harsh, judgmental gaze. But, for those of us with a little cunning, it’s possible to be, shall we say, forgotten in the crowd?
This particular day I was employing my usual strategy of continuously putting myself at the back of the line. So many others wanted to bat, who was I to deprive them? Gym class was supposed to be over in a mere 2 minutes, I was close to being free when suddenly, the gym teacher caught on and Mrs. Camamis’s voice started yelling, “Hey! You! You haven’t batted yet!” It was time to play cool, act natural. Just ignore here.
“Hey! NICOLE! You didn’t bat!” Okay, it’s harder to ignore them when they use your name. Shit. “What? Me? I did!” But it was no use. As I took the bat, which felt like a load of bricks encased in cement and lead, Mrs. C decided to add something on for good measure: “NO ONE LEAVES UNTIL SHE HITS THE BALL.”
That was one way of getting out of math. The piercing gaze was like daggers coming from every angle. My classmates, half of whom couldn’t remember who the fuck I was, in this moment collectively hated me as I attempted to hit the ball and repeatedly failed.
And as Mrs. C tried to coach me through it, I could feel nothing but the desire to disappear and it occurred to me that if the ball hit me, I would get to just walk but despite the pitcher’s best efforts I could neither hit nor get hit and so we remained out on that field, trapped in this new hell that surely could have been a horrifying episode of the Twilight Zone.
Finally, I managed to hit something. And she made me run. Never again was this battle waged, and whether it was because everyone ended up being really late to their next class or because she finally took pity on me I’ll never know, but she didn’t make me go up to the plate again.
Fortunately, by my senior year, I had figured out how to hide in the equipment room undetected with some fellow gym refugees.
Next: That time I was told I’d be good on the track and field time.