Monday, 23 October 2017

Poetry Monday: Sport Shorts

Well, folks, it's that day of the week again, the day we put on our togas or our peasant shirts or our smoking jackets (what DO poets wear, anyway?) and lie around on our chaise lounges or our Ikea furniture or our (imitation) leather couches (what DO poets recline on, anyway?) and scratch out poetry with our chisel-and-rock or our stubby pencils or our fountain pens (what DO poets write with, anyway?) . . . or, more likely, we sit at our computers trying to fend off curious cats. Or is that just me?

Today's theme is "sports" and you can find sports-related poems at Diane's blog (HERE) and Delores' blog (HERE), as well as right here on Procrastinating Donkey (including Joan's poetry from Joan of Devon, in the comments). Feel free to read, write, or contribute in any way. Have fun!

I have to say right here that I'm not really a sports fan. I'm a fan of sitting. There isn't much sitting in most sports, and even the ones that do involve sitting don't let you get away with doing nothing, as your arms are in constant use (eg., rowing, paddling, kayaking) or else you are in constant danger from excessive speed (eg., bobsledding, racing).

I've never been coordinated, I've never had a personal energy surplus, and my speed and balance are below average. I don't like danger and I don't like competition and I'm not motivated by winning or losing. I don't like doing anything that requires strapping things to my feet or any other part of my body, or anything that might cause me sudden pain from being hit in the face or stomach or from breaking a bone, and I really, really, really don't like wearing spandex or a wetsuit or a helmet.

Nevertheless, in my high school--and probably in yours--gym class was a compulsory course.

And we had a compulsory uniform. For girls, this was called a "gym suit" and was a one piece article of clothing, in school colours, that looked like a blouse sewn to a pair of short shorts and buttoned up the front. For boys, the uniform was short gym shorts in school colours, topped with a plain white T-shirt. The most important word to remember for the sake of the following poem is "short." Remember we are talking the late sixties, early seventies here. There were no long baggy shorts for guys and those gym suits had no mercy for girls whose thighs weren't perfect.

Enough background! Time for the poem of the day.

As I Remember Gym Class

She cavorts;
He cavorts;
They all cavort in short shorts.

They'd rather not--
Unless they're hot
And like to show off what they've got.

The rest of them
Themselves condemn,
And wish for shorts with longer hems.


Here is what our gym outfits looked like, approximately, except ours were maroon because our school colours were maroon and grey:




What did you wear in gym class? Did you like sports, loathe them, or was it a mixed bag?

P. S. I may have slightly overstated my aversion to sports :)


Elephant's Child said...

Kindred spirits.
Unco is my middle (and sometimes my first) name. I dropped more balls than I caught. Always assuming I saw them.
Fortunately we didn't have gym outfits. But the rest of our uniform was a delight for the perfectly formed and a nightmare for the rest of us.

Jimmy said...

I haven't thought about those gym classes in quite a while, we had to go downtown to a sporting goods store and buy white shorts with the school logo a tornado with the school name in purple and gold lettering, along with a white tee shirt with a matching logo on it too. We were pretty cool in our gym shorts ha ha.

Anonymous said...

We had Games, PE and Gym. To me Gym was the worst, I was no good at all. We had the same teacher for all three, Miss Wilkinson, who was a tyrant if you couldn't get it right. She has stayed with me all these years as other teacher's names have escaped me.
The boys wore black shorts and white aertex polo shirts and the girls wore the same polo shirts and two pairs of knickers in our first year until we'd finished making a sleeveless, cotton round-neck blouse in needlework. A good idea to combine the two lessons like that I think. They were in our school house colours, mine was pink because I was in Rosedale House (all five houses were named after Abbeys). After the blouse we had to make a short PE skirt which was a standard blue. For a while there was a mixture of PE uniforms as each of us finished our item of clothing at different times, depending on who was good at sewing or not.
I don't mind sport in general although there are some sports I prefer to watch over others.
Anyway, on to the poem, which I think speaks my mind quite accurately.

Sports Day Elimination

School Sports Day was a nightmare,
Not my favourite cup of tea.
No inclination or interest on my part
To be the first or fastest, running free.

In Games we had to compete
In eliminating trials and tests,
To ascertain our capabilities,
Who was rubbish and who was best.

My long legs were the reason
I was steered to the jump - so high.
Just let's say, total disaster,
But to my credit, I did try.

I never excelled at any sport,
But do I really care?
It's never stopped me living my life
Smoke that in your pipe. So there!

Have a good week Jenny.

Joan (Devon)

River said...

I hate sports as much as you do and in gym class I often volunteered to be score keeper, or 'forgot' to bring my uniform. Our gym wear was a thinner, shorter, version of the box pleated tunic we usually wore, navy blue with two bands of light blue around the bottom third of the skirt, worn with a short sleeved white blouse under it and a tasselled tie in our house colour.
I think your gym suits are terrible. You should have been allowed to wear shorts and a t-shirt like the boys in my opinion, or at least a t-shirt and short skirt.

only slightly confused said...

Our outfits were the lower photo with horrible white canvas shoes with rubber toes. I marched myself to the doctors office and demanded a note to get out of gym. He asked me what I did for exercise and I told him I lived on a farm. Oh! he said, and signed the note. I spent gym in the library; my favourite spot in the whole world. It would seem we ahve the same opinion about sports lol.

Red said...

I had it easy. No gym. No gym class. In the mid fifties rural areas did not have gyms. Phys. Ed. Was not on the curriculum. I do remember those awful shorts as I was teaching at that time.

Joanne Noragon said...

Gym was an option in college, and I took gymnastics for four years. In one of those blue suits.
Poets wear poets' shirts.

LL Cool Joe said...

My partner is addicted to all sport, but I'm not interested in it at all. I like your poem. I can't really remember what I wore in games class, probably just a tracksuit. Oh, but I used to be a good swimmer.

Steve Reed said...

I am quite sports-averse too. At least team-sports-averse -- I don't mind running or swimming or things I can do on my own. I don't like being responsible for others winning or losing, because some of them take it WAY too seriously!

We used to "dress out" in whatever shorts and t-shirts we brought from home. We didn't have a uniform.

Jono said...

I've had mixed feelings about sports all my life. So far. There are a few I like to participate in, but VERY few that I like to watch, and I am really not competitive at all. If it is fun in its own right I'll do it.

jenny_o said...

Oh, those balls! Why does every game involve a ball at high speed?! I was blind without my glasses and dreaded those balls. Maybe it was for the same reason you mentioned, because I couldn't really see them coming! I feel lucky we didn't have school uniforms, as you did. That would probably be worse than gym uniforms because it would be all day, every day.

jenny_o said...

They do sound pretty cool, especially compared to our maroon outfits, but what a nightmare to keep clean!! Maroon shows NOTHING :)

jenny_o said...

I agree! Once you are out of school, sports can be a take or leave it affair :) And "total disaster" sounds familiar to me, ha ha

Thanks for contributing, Joan!

jenny_o said...

Now, your outfit sounds quite nice, River - I wish we had had something like that. Whoever chose those understood that it's not all about fitness. lol

jenny_o said...

What?? You could get OUT OF GYM?? Why did I not know this?

On the other hand, I did NOT live on a farm and I did NOT have any other form of exercise . . .

Birds of a feather, yes :)

jenny_o said...

We only had gym when we went from our rural school to the consolidated school in Grade 7. And in Grades 11 and 12 the rules were more relaxed. We could get out whatever equipment we wanted, or even play ping pong if we were the first to get to the one ancient table :)

jenny_o said...

Gymnastics! Oh my goodness. I hadn't thought about the balance beam when I wrote this. It was horrifying for someone with a fear of heights!

Poets' shirts makes a lot of sense.

jenny_o said...

We didn't have swimming here for which I am truly thankful. On the other hand, maybe if we had, I wouldn't be so scared of drowning now :) It's helpful to be good at something physical, just for the exercise and relaxation it gives.

jenny_o said...

Really it's only team sports I don't care for too. But I didn't like anything in gym class because it was all graded, and for the non-athletic it was painful :)

jenny_o said...

Yes, that about sums it up for me also. I have found walking to be about my speed :)

Marie Smith said...

I attended an all girls school. The gym clothes were a skort and blouse. I was not an athlete and hated gym, the outfit didn't help.

only slightly confused said...

Well, there's three of us who can live without being 'athletic' lol.

jenny_o said...

I know! Adding insult to injury, really . . .

dinthebeast said...

Didn't Stephen King say, in one of the first chapters of "The Stand" that poets wore "perfect blue chambray work shirts"?
I had such a shirt once, but it was only perfect before I wore it, because I, you know, worked in it.
We had gym class in Jr. High School (grades 7,8, and 9) and it was compulsory in the sophomore year of High School.
Our required clothing was sneakers, gym socks, green gym shorts, and a reversible gym shirt that was green on one side and white on the other, so the teams could have a different color shirt from one another in team sports. I think the shirt and shorts said "Eureka Phys Ed" on them in white letters.
I don't remember what the girls wore, which is strange given how much attention I paid to them at the time.
I didn't mind gym class that much, as I was already racing motocross by the seventh grade, and had to work out for it anyway. I joined the cross-country team just to have some other kids to run with, but I never won any races there.
The team sports were the worst. They had to try and balance their program between not letting any kid get hurt, and playing sports where kids regularly got hurt on the varsity teams.
A lot of kids used it as an excuse to be assholes, the way I remember it, which flew in the face of what I knew about (motorcycle) competition, where the camaraderie was a major part of the whole experience.

-Doug in Oakland

e said...

Gym class was a nightmare until I could take swimming...

jenny_o said...

A reversible gym shirt makes a lot of sense.

Interesting that motorcycle competitions were so supportive. That's how all sports should be.

jenny_o said...

It's good you finally got the chance to do something you enjoyed. Swimming, for me, would BE the nightmare - ha ha

Martha said...

Oh, the gym suit! HAHA I completely forgot about that. Ours (in high school) was a two piece outfit - shorts and a t-shirt. Most girls couldn't stand those days. You always had to have your legs shaved, year round...LOL... I would have preferred sweatpants and a t-shirt. Much more comfortable.

jenny_o said...

I just don't understand the uniform idea - and ugly uniforms at that!! But this was before sweatsuits were common (or even invented, maybe?), so that wasn't even an option :)

Diane Henders said...

I actually enjoy playing most sports, but you made me shudder with the memory of those shorts. The years I played on the school volleyball team, the shorts didn't even have an inseam length - they were basically just stretchy terrycloth panties. NOT a pretty sight!

baili said...

I loved playing tennis in p.t period (play, time) in school days Jenny!

It was girls high school and all the teachers were female.

i saw some most beautiful girls with perfect figure in that time of my life .

I was little fatty not slim but ,never wanted to be one ,all i was interested to play football and be athlete (all boy's stuff lol) though never got chance to play any of them.

our dress was traditional white suit (loose ofcourse) .

I can imagine the low energy you have ,mine is same but i was and am too excited about life thing and games which need more energy (though i feel feverish later for days )

I know the desire of boys and girls for showing off their body.

In our school many girls used to wear as tight uniform as they keep the cloth on their body and then seal it .one could see all the features resisting the pressure of dress lol.

liked your well written poem dear friend!

Anonymous said...

Sports is a good exercise. I love sports. Many use gym to maintain their health. I have forgotten these dress. These are old models now there are many varieties...

River said...

so, a good colour choice for girls who might experience unexpected you know what.

jenny_o said...

For sure.

jenny_o said...

Sounds like they were training you for professional volleyball with their bikini outfits!!

jenny_o said...

It seems that young people will always find a way to "advertise", baili!

jenny_o said...

Sports really are good exercise, and I think it's important to find something we like to do to keep in shape :)

Thanks for dropping in and reading!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Heehee! I LOVED gym class. Until the 'cool' girls took over. And then it simply wasn't fun any more.
We had no uniform. Shorts and a T-shirt. I opted for shorts that covered my thighs. (What is it with gym class and the showing of the thighs?!)
Fabulous poem!!!

gz said...

they called it a djellaba at grammar school...basically a V neck tunic, worn with navy blue heavy knickers. Awful.

jenny_o said...

I wish we'd been able to choose our shorts! The only consolation was that everyone else had to wear the same thing :)

jenny_o said...

I don't know why the uniforms had to be so SHORT! Ease of movement? To stay cool with all the running around? I don't know :)

Diane Henders said...

Yeah, don't even get me started about those Olympic beach volleyball "uniforms". They must spend hours digging sand out of places they didn't even know they had. Owie.

jenny_o said...

ha ha!

37paddington said...

Ha, that poem, i love it. We wore little gray skirts with bloomers under them in the same material. Bloomers! As teenagers! It was a sight.

jenny_o said...

I know! Who ever designed these things??

Ginger said...

We had swimming in junior high but I never learned how and nearly drowned when forced to jump off the diving board and swim the length of the pool in order to pass the class. Had to be rescued. I still have a terrible fear of drowning. I got out of P.E. in high school due to having a collapsed lung the summer before my senior year. Oh, and in junior high P.E. girls had to wear a one-piece outfit similar to yours, jenny_o, but it was a light brick red.

jenny_o said...

Well, there you go - the other possible outcome of swim classes! That's terrible and no wonder you are terrified of drowning now. Thanks for reading and commenting, Ginger. It's interesting to get all different perspectives!