The older boy got himself into some low-wattage trouble at school earlier in the week, for “talking in class.” Since I’m his father I had to treat this as a serious offense, but come on. Talking in class? That’s the middle school equivalent of driving too slow, isn’t it?
After we spoke to him about it, I told Toney about a few of my talking in class episodes, one of which featured a gym teacher. From there I took a sharp turn and started telling ONLY gym teacher-related tales. And Toney occasionally said “uh huh,” to try to fool me into believing she was listening.
But since there were so many to choose from, a freakin’ category unto itself, I thought I’d take the liberty of turning it all into an update. A day with nothing but gym teacher-related stories…
You can type “uh huh” in the comments, if you’re so inclined.
When I was in Junior High I got into a fight during gym class, over a game called Four Square. It was my turn to move to the “serving square,” but this little prick named Jon, an ongoing pain in my hams, tried to jump ahead of me.
After a few words were exchanged, and he tried to shove me out of the way, I punched him in the face. Hard. I’d never hit someone with such enthusiasm, and it made a loud SMACK! sound, like on TV. The kid’s eyes went all wonky, he stumbled around like a drunkard for a while, and wasn’t able to mount a response.
Yeah, I guess it wasn’t much of a fight – just one punch – but I liked the way it had turned out. I liked it real well. Unfortunately, the episode wasn’t over…
Coach D, who wasn’t far away, swooped in and grabbed me by the arm. He was really angry, and shoved me outside, being extra-rough and mean about the whole thing.
I told him what had happened, but he didn’t seem to care too much about the details. In fact, he never even talked to Jon about it, and Jon was the one who’d caused it. In my mind, anyway. The coach told me to go to the locker room for the rest of the period, but not to get dressed.
When all the other boys came pouring back in, he gathered them ’round. He built an audience. Then he had me bend over the back of a chair, and smacked my ass three times with a large paddle.
And the crowd loved it! Especially the black guys, for some reason. There was much hooting, as well as some hollering. Paddling days were always extremely popular, and I liked them too. Under different circumstances…
Yeah, and it hurt. I was wearing gym shorts and underwear, which didn’t provide much of a barrier. So my cheeks were abuzz for the rest of the day.
But I didn’t care. I’d been hankering to punch that kid for weeks; it was way past due. The satisfaction of finally ringing his bell, far outweighed the humiliation of being the star of Coach D’s l’il homoerotic circus.
And I never had another ounce of trouble out of Jon, after that. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?
Bill got the paddle during the same year, I think, from the same “teacher.” Some kid was using a urinal, and Bill shoved him down, for sport. This caused instantaneous wiener-retraction, and the poor sumbitch peed straight down his right leg.
I lent moral support by not cheering during the paddling session. It was about all I could do.
When I was in high school I had a gym teacher called Coach K, for an actual class. Probably social studies, or somesuch. I sat in the back row, near my friend Tim, and one day we were irritating everyone by talking in class.
The coach warned us to knock it off several times, but I kept it up. I was on a roll… He started to tell a story about his brother, who was a well-known local businessman named Roy, and I said real loud, “Who, Roy??”
For some reason this caused Coach K to snap, and he charged at me. He was all the way in the front of the class, and was moving desks out of the way as he traveled, many of which contained students.
Veins were appearing and disappearing on his purpled-up face and neck; the dude was completely livid. I seriously thought he was going to pull me out of my chair, and start working me over. In fact, that was probably his original intention. But he came to his senses, and only screamed for a long time.
And this episode caused the words “Who, Roy??” to turn into a minor catchphrase at our school. Other kids would yell it at me, in the hallways. And a guy named Richard had the balls to actually holler it during an assembly one day, while Coach K was speaking.
A year after the Who Roy? incident, I had a class called Singles Survival. It was supposed to prepare us for living on our own. We were taught how to iron a shirt, sew on a button, cook a few dishes, and scrub the bacon strips out of our shorts. It was basically home ec for guys…
One day our four-man group made a cherry pie, and we put it in the oven before the bell rang. It was supposed to cook for a certain amount of time, and the teacher said I’d have to make arrangements to get out of my next class for a few minutes, to remove the pie from the oven. We had to do everything on our own, she insisted, we would receive no help.
My next class? Coach K again! Gulp.
The man couldn’t stand me, and didn’t even bother to hide it. I was (am?) a non-athletic smartass, which is like kryptonite to coaches and gym teachers everywhere. And now I had to go to him and ask if I could leave his class early…. to take a pie out of the oven. Yeah, this wasn’t going to help my cause at all.
And he let me do it, but had a look of utter disgust on his face during the whole conversation. It felt like I’d been caught sashaying about in a matching bra and panty set, or something. Flop sweat poured down my back.
And Tim was out in the hall during all this, buckled over in laughter. Yes, it’s important to have a strong support network…
Also in high school we were piled in the “little theater” for some sort of assembly, and Coach Y told me and Bill to stop talking a few times. And each of his little visits got angrier and angrier.
My internal sensor finally told me I’d better knock it off, but Bill continued generating noise. And out of the corner of my eye I noticed something large moving in our direction. I turned to look, and saw Coach Y approaching with his right arm reared all the way back to Chillicothe, Ohio.
And he punched Bill in the middle of the back! Nothing playful, nothing subtle. He slugged him, like in a bar fight.
I couldn’t believe it. Even in 1980 that shit was waaaaay out of line. The blow knocked Bill from his seat, but he immediately rebounded and shouted, “You and me, old man! Outside, now!!”
The floor of my ass nearly fell out. Teachers hitting students… Bill challenging the head football coach to a fight… and calling him an old man?! All of it was beyond comprehension.
I think Bill’s dad had a few things to say to Coach Y about it. In fact, I know he did. Nowadays a teacher would be fired and/or arrested for such a thing, but back then… they just got yelled at by angry parents, and that was that.
When I was a senior I worked on the school newspaper, and was sent to interview Coach Y about something or other. I made an appointment with him, and when I arrived he told me he didn’t have much time, and said we’d have to talk while he took a dump.
And I’m not joking. He told me to follow him into the bathroom area of the locker room, went into one of the doorless stalls, and, you know, had a seat. All I could see (luckily) was his knees sticking out from behind a cinderblock wall, but the interview was interesting.
“Yes, Coach… How well do you think the team will do during the upcoming season?”
“Well, we’re young, but we’re scrappy. I don’t think — ungggh bloop! — we’re going to be state champions or anything — zzzzzzp pop pop bloop! — but I have a feeling we might surprise a few people.”
This happened, I’m convinced, because I was the aforementioned gym teacher kryptonite. If I’d been a jock of some type, I can almost guarantee he wouldn’t have made me do the interview while he expelled last night’s pot roast.
Yes, he and Coach K undoubtedly had a big laugh about it, later in the day. And if I’d been Veronica Mars, or whatever, I would’ve gotten both of them back in some elaborate manner. But, alas, I’m Jeff Kay, and can only write about it on the internet.
And I have at least five more stories I was going to include, but I think that’s enough. I’ve already covered the best ones.
So, now it’s your turn. Do you have any good gym teacher-related tales to tell? Use the comments link below.
And I’ll see you guys next time.