Article in the Oregonian really took my back this morning. Back to the days of high school PE and gang showers. As I recall we had five minutes to dress down before class and five minutes at the end to strip, spritz, get into out civvies, get the PE clothes stashed and get ourselves and out gear out the door for the next class. I think we all were too busy to pay much attention to what we all looked like in our skinny skin skins.
And since PE was required for all (unless you had a really good religious reason for not dressing down) in grades 7 to 12 in my district, we got to ignore each other five days a week all through the school year. But, we didn’t have the media blitz helping us worry about our body image and frankly, most of us didn’t even wear much make up. Not that you’d have time to do much besides get dry and get your clothes on in those few minutes.
Anyway, the article was about how so many kids aren’t showering, even after athletic events that some schools don’t even build shower rooms anymore. A lot of kids think the gang showers are “weird.” Even when there’s access to stall showers, the students don’t use them. Some believe it’s a body image thing. Kids are more conscious of each other, and quicker to criticize perceived imperfections. Some students claim they don’t do any more than they have to in PE so they don’t work up a sweat. Wouldn’t have worked with my instructors. They weren’t tyrants but, we were out there to move, non participation was not an option.
I don’t know what dorm life is like these days, but we had a gang shower there too. I don’t even remember if there were any stalls, I think there were. But they didn’t have doors. Even if there was a shower curtain there was a common dressing area so it didn’t really make a difference. Didn’t slow anybody down as I recall. It wasn’t something we spent a whole lot of time over either. Get in, get out, and get on with the day.
Actually, the only thing I really remember from high school PE had nothing to do with PE. When I was a senior my locker mate was a little freshman with severe asthma. She didn’t come back after Christmas break. I think her name was Kathy. Gee, I haven’t thought about her for years. Sorry kid, you deserved better.