Anticipation grew as I dressed for class and headed out with my friends to line up and stretch. Mr. Lee gave us a break with the exercises and, of course, made the girls go first. I expected such, but I still felt surprised to hear it was finally time to run. He lined us up with the number fifty-six, making an invisible line with his hand and giving us last minute pointers. I couldn’t pay attention to his voice, though; all I could hear was the hurried beating of my heart. It was scarily loud and pressured against my chest like a hundred pounds of uneasy quivering.
He gave the okay to start running and I started my normal jog, not trying to overpass some of the girls that had already gotten in front of me. It made me feel unsure if I could even beat them anymore. After all, they had already gotten a strong quarter lap in front. My hopes fell for a moment, but rose once again when I finished my first lap and heard the encouraging words from my peers. I barely even heard Mr. Lee call out my time, because it didn’t matter as much. I knew I was doing the best I could. It seemed to work, too. By the third lap, I had caught up to the other girls that had ran ahead of me and soon after, passed them. Triumphant; I felt triumphant.
I ran my heart out on the ten laps, now listening carefully to every minute and second Mr. Lee shouted out when I passed him. I was getting good time, but still, Mr. Lee cheered me on. Just beating the 7:32 time wasn’t enough for him. He wanted me to do the best I could, not just beat an arbitrary time. On that 10th lap I sprinted the last half of the lap to the fastest finish I ever made. My time was 7:37, five seconds behind the fastest girl Mr. Lee had ever taught. I was disappointed and out of breath, feeling like I could have subtracted those seconds just by starting my sprint a few yards before I had. Still, I wasn’t totally mad at myself. It was a great time and I wasn’t too upset about it. My friends congratulated me even though I hadn’t made the time and Mr. Lee was still proud of me. Their support made my proud of myself as well. Then, the girls watched the guys run...
Ever since 7th grade, I’ve been taking PE after school to make up for doing two electives during the regular school day. At first when I started the after school class, I was afraid it might not be fun like regular PE was in 6th grade, but then I found out that it was much more exciting than I gave it credit for. Now I’m in 8th grade and I still take two electives, partially because I WANT to have after school PE. This class helped me improve social skills and reach my goals without much hesitation or second thoughts.
I still don’t really know why the time of my PE class has made such a big difference on me, but it has. In 6th grade, I was the fastest girl in my grade to run three laps around the school, but it didn’t mean much to me since I didn’t find running very fun. When I took after school PE in 7th grade though, I found more joy in competing against friends rather than just random students. Once I got into after-school PE, I started to make friends. The awesome threesome of Dana, Kaitlyn, and me became closer even with new friends in my life. Most of the people were really friendly and were willing to include me in the activities. I finally decided guys didn’t have cooties after all and I could finally become friends with them. I became more open to new challenges in both academics and friends. In short, it was awesome.
7 years ago