the president’s challenge

I HATED PE when I was young.

When students would be picking teams, I would be the last one picked- and more than once, whichever team was “stuck” with me would throw a fit, because I wasn’t a very good athlete. Without fail, I would get hit in the face by some kind of sportsball. When puberty hit, my feet were two sizes too big for the rest of my body, and I was hopelessly clumsy.

Every year we had to do fitness tests for the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge, things like sit-ups, push-ups, or chin-ups. If we reached a certain number, which varied based on our age, we got a special “Presidential Physical Fitness Award”. Incidentally, that is the only award that I never, ever, ever even sort of almost met the qualifications to win it.

But my least favorite test, by far, was “the Mile”. Every year we had to run one mile, timed. Every year, I was one of the slowest people to finish. Every year, I hated the ten or fifteen minutes that it took me to run that mile.

The last PE class I ever took was when I was a freshman in high school. Towards the end of the year, the physical fitness tests rolled around and the coach announced we would be running a mile. I’d been getting stronger, and I decided that I would run the whole mile for the first time in my life- as in, run, without slowing to a walk at all.

I did it. I ran that whole mile. When I reached the finish line, I was bursting with pride over this accomplishment. The coach stopped his stopwatch and sighed. It had been 11 minutes, and I was the last person in the class to finish. However proud I may have been of my 11:00 mile, he was disappointed.

Ohhhh how I hated those tests.

Yesterday I discovered this “grown up” version of the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge, an adult fitness test. I think I’ll take that test. But this time, I don’t think I’ll hate it as much.

2 thoughts on “the president’s challenge”

  1. I just have to say … I did this too – MADE myself run and not walk during that end-of-the-year mile and it took me 10 minutes or something. I was so proud of myself, but the teacher was still disappointed. So stupid.

  2. I HATED this test because I could never do a chin-up!!! And you couldn’t get the 80% award with the flex-arm hang so every year I just got the 50%. I feel like I gave way more than 50%!

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