Remember That Scene From To Sir, With Love, Where the Bullying Gym Teacher Makes the Fat Kid Named Fatty or Fatso or Piggy Jump Over the Vaulting Horse…


…and some sort of ruckus ensues when one of the other punk students stand up against the gym teacher (or whatever the fooge they're called in England)? Good times, those were, mates.

Anyway, over at To the People, the invaluable blog about being lard-assed, lazy, and libertarian, the pseudonymous poster Cicero links to a story about new phederal phys-ed requirements and launches into a memorable, if ultimately Humbert-Humbertish, rant:

The war on fat is the new war on drugs. Just like schools suspend kids for bringing Tylenol and asthma medicine to school, they will soon be kicking them out for bringing Jolly Ranchers and candy bars. I was upset that my high school required four years of gym and only two years of math to graduate. Sadly, schools will soon be 50/50 exercise and education. And then probably 60/40. Sure American students will look better than foreign students, but we'll continue to lag behind them in math and science. Maybe it's just me, but I like my teenage girlfriends to be hot and smart.

Whole post here.

How To Avoid High School Gym Class in the USA, by the BBC.

Photo gallery from To Sir, With Love on a fan site that might be titled, To Sir, With Love From a Deranged Fan.

My favorite cinematic gym teacher? Probably the improbably high-knee-sock-wearing Betty Buckley in Carrie (alas, no pic easily available), who got what she deserved. What they all deserved. What we all (male, female, whatever) deserved–for wearing knee socks back in the day.

NEXT: No Fence for the Mexican Border

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  1. No love for Coach Balbricker?

  2. Favourite cinematic gym teacher?


    Kelly Le Brock. Wierd Science.

    I didn’t think it was a whale’s dick honey..

  3. I was awful at gym, and was often picked on (but not physically intimidated) by the Gym Bully. I got my revenge by sleeping with his girlfriend.

    Gym requirements were unacceptable at the catholic highschool I attended in the 80s. The first time they asked me to donate to the alumni fund, I told them I would give them $1000 bucks if they would drop gym for junior and senior year students. They wouldn’t go for it.

  4. Maybe it’s just me, but I like my teenage girlfriends to be hot and smart.

    That would be even funnier if Cicero is not a teenager himself.

  5. The problem: kids are getting fat due, at least in part, to lack of physical activity.

    The solution: eliminate gym class.

    Sounds like a winner!

  6. Heh, at my high school, you had to pass every quarter of gym to graduate. In my sophomore year, the third quarter was all gymnastics, and you had to do 14 excercises (out of a list of 30 given by the teacher) in order to pass. Unfortunately, half of the exercises were pretty much impossible for a 6’4″ sophomore, such as myself to do.
    Luckily, the teacher pitied me and chose to ignore the fact that I landed on my stomach on both parallel bars exercises, destroying whatever reproductive capacity was left after the pommel horse. I escaped with a D-.

  7. Man I hate gym class.

    My old, impressively bald aresclown of a gym teacher used to make us run around in our underpanse climbing ropes and doing forward roles.

    I seriously hope he’s on some sort of register because that chap had sweets in his glove compartment that weren’t for him.

  8. The best cinematic high school gym scene clearly belongs to Rock ‘n Roll High School. No contest.

  9. I’ll tell you why kids today are fat. Luxury! They’re spoiled, mollycoddled little nancys with no respect or appreciation. Pathetic, whiny… chubby little helmeted mammas boys. We didn’t need gym class- we mined coal for exercise.

    When I was a boy, I walked to school. In the snow. Uphill. BOTH WAYS. After I milked the cows and did the chores. And smoked Pall Malls while I did it.

  10. Gym class; pure puberty purgatory.
    I was not accepted as a member of any of the high-school cliques, but mingled with most of them, geeks, stoners, preppies (an 80’s thing). The one group I interacted with only against my will, were the jocks. I thought they were all deranged psychopaths and they thought I was a pussy. Looking back on it from twenty some odd years later, I think we were both right.

    Gym teachers, being (failed) professional jocks, couldn’t have caused more destruction to my artist’s soul if they were the spawn of Satan. Actually, while I don’t believe in Satan, I am convinced that all gym teachers are his spawn.

    Cinematic Gym teacher deserving a nod: Ferris Bueller – riding in a golf-cart shouting via megaphone.

  11. man, you all went to some messed up schools! my high school (yes, a public one) only required two semesters of phys ed. and only one of those was blatantly sadistic.

    we were forced to sweat to the oldies. and there was a swimming unit where you were marched to the pool as scrawny or fat as you were as a 14 year old freshman where senior girls in their swimsuits would put you through drills and laps.

    the coach from dazed and confused best represents the ones i remember from school.

  12. I walked to school

    Lowers self-esteem. Parental neglect

    In the snow.

    Too dangerous. Parental neglect

    Uphill. BOTH WAYS.

    Excessive punishment. Child Abuse.

    After I milked the cows and did the chores.

    Child labor and sweatshop conditions. Child abuse

    And smoked Pall Malls while I did it.

    Either parental neglect or abuse, and a minor in possession. That old tale has three felonies and three misdemeanors.

  13. Gym class is what gave me the psychological scars that make me a libertarian today.

    I almost failed eighth grade due to my complete inability to spike a volleyball over the goddamned net.

  14. So what some of you are suggesting is we drop the gym class requirements, because you dont think its important?? How about we ban math class, cause I dont think its important either, I really cant remeber when I used advanced calculus last and dont even get me started on algebra. Or are we dropping gym because u were fat and sucked at sports and the other kids picked on you? Oh u poor baby, here’s a doctor’s note.

  15. Jennifer, based on a revelation you made in the airbag thread (regarding your height, or lack thereof) I’m shocked that you weren’t moved into a special program which could provide you with the lowered expectations (and nets) necessary to appropriately manage your results and prevent you from suffering this life- altering trauma due to diminished self- esteem. If there were only some way to seek recompense.

  16. Man that BBC guide sucks, that would not get me out of gym class at my school. Though my gym class was relatively fun, I don’t get why everyone is so down on gym class. It is a way better use of time then a study hall, I never did anything in study hall.

  17. P Brooks, I’m not positive about this (and I don’t feel like digging my baby book out of the basement), but I’m pretty sure I was still less than five feet tall in grade 8. And my weight didn’t cross the hundred-pound boundary until about sophomore year. I understand the need for exercise and everything, but seriously–between my short-person DNA and my having been a late bloomer I almost failed the eighth grade because I couldn’t spike a goddamned volleyball.

    I was also kept off the honor roll most terms because of my gym grades. The only thing I did well in gym was the “flexed arm hang” (the girl equivalent of the pull-ups guys have to do), and I think the only reason I scored “excellent” on that physical fitness test was because I weighed so little it didn’t require much strength to hold me up there.

    I have a decent job, and money in the bank, so if I ever need to get a volleyball spiked I can afford to go down to the Labor-Ready office and hire some Mexican guy to spike it for me. INS be damned.

  18. “…I can afford to go down to the Labor-Ready office and hire some Mexican guy to spike it for me. INS be damned.”

    Better hurry

  19. Let’s not forget the important life lesson taught to us by the locker room scene in Porky’s . Never stick anything through a hole you don’t want yanked.

  20. Hey, Betty Buckley didn’t get what she deserved. She tried to help Carrie.

    My favorite of Buckley’s scenes: in the principal’s office, when he notices a slight smear of menstrual blood on her white shorts and becomes visibly disturbed.

    Fear of the feminine is what that movie is all about.

  21. When I was 16 I took a semester of drivers ed for PE credit. In high school we went bowling for an entire semester. I liked PE.

  22. Oh, great, now I have Lula’s voice (or whatever her name was) stuck in my head.

  23. How about we ban math class

    First reading, I thought it said meth class.
    I guess my comment about that being banned already is inconsequential. I don’t know why I bothered to write this at all. Boy, what a waste of time. Mine and yours if you bothered to read this far. Even more time if you’re still reading. Far too much time.

  24. I HATED gymn class.

    Fortunately, my gymn teacher was relatively cool and let me pass with a C average despite my total lack of ability.

    My best gymn grades where the half-semesters in which we studied:

    – Health. Basically just another sitting-down class, where we learned about the organs of the body.

    – Tumbling. I was great at falling down. And rolling.

    I wasn’t bad at crab soccer, either.

    But the worst was the half-semester they taught us square-dancing, because it forced me to be a stupid uncoordinated doof in front of girls. On top of that, there was a guy in our class who kept making fun of me.

    Hey Steve Schlanger or Shlangen or whatever your name was, are you out there? Because you’re a real asshole prick. And how come you never graduated with the rest of us? Flunky flunky?

    (NB: This does not refer to Steve Schlanger the sportscaster. I’ve seen his picture. Completely different guy, wrong generation.)

  25. When Dick Van Patten hooked up with Betty Buckley on Eight Is Enough I thought, “No way, she’s out of his league.”

    As for gym teachers, I may be biased, `cause I’m the son of one. OK, Dad was also a coach and eventually an athletic director. Many a PE instructor was a doofus, while some were diligent teachers. Our state required all high schools to include a certain number of PhysEd credits, and at the private school I went to this meant we had gym one day out of three. The usual practice was to let us loose in the gym or on a playing field and have us play basketball, softball, touch football, etc. Once in a while we’d do a timed run, or try to learn a skill in an unfamiliar sport. No big whoop. Meanwhile, Dad was teaching structured units, including written tests on the rules of various games, which was apparently required in the local publik skool. It amazed me. In our gym classes, a good grade was achieved by:

    1.) Not getting caught ditching.
    2.) Not being one of those weenies who tried to avoid gym by not bringing gym gear.
    3.) Being seen actively participating with a decent level of effort.
    4.) Showering afterwards.

    Or one could be the coach’s runner to get him coffee, smokes and donuts from 7-11. Students who were on sports teams sailed through, of course.

    I tried to explain to a fellow nerd who really loathed gym that if he just wouldn’t let on that he hated it, he’d have a much easier time of it. I like sports, even if I was never that good at them. I can even remember the shock on the faces of some of the jocks when I made one of my infrequent good plays, and received that high praise, “Hey, kevrob, where did that come from? You usually suck!”

    (had a huge crush on Dianne Kay)

  26. Any of you see Betty Buckley in Rain Without Thunder?

  27. TSWL rocked and the derangement is justified. Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Judy Geeson, Lulu… all so groovy.

    I was a football water girl and track/basketball statistician to get out of the second year of PE. No physical effort, but did involve lateish hours and travel to other high schools.

  28. In our gym classes, a good grade was achieved by:

    1.) Not getting caught ditching.
    2.) Not being one of those weenies who tried to avoid gym by not bringing gym gear.
    3.) Being seen actively participating with a decent level of effort.
    4.) Showering afterwards.

    That reminds me of another reason I hated gymn classes — they never gave us time to shower. Instead, they had us playing basketball or flag football or whatever right up to the moment the bell rang for the next class. We then had exactly four minutes to get to class before the second bell.

    And we had campus-style high school, consisting of spread-out buildings that could only be entered by one or two bottleneck entrances.

    So we had to choose between either being 15 minutes late for the next class and being bitched at by that teacher, or skipping the shower. As it was, simply a quick towling off of excess sweat and changing clothes took enough time to make us late anyway.

    And for those of you have forgotten, sweaty adolescent boys often do not smell good. Being a stinky, sweaty adolescent boy isn’t that great either.

    Boy, it feels good to get this stuff off my chest. This is almost as good as a porn thread.

  29. Stevo: Pfewwwwww!

    At our H.S. they actually gave us just enough time to shower, As this was a private school that required that we wear uniforms, stuffing 30 sweaty guys back into blue blazers and grey wool slacks for the rest of the day would have been inadvisable without a quick hose-down. It was also the early 70s, and there was a serious outbreak of Bobby Sherman/John Davidson haircuts to deal with. Some of the guys were fussier about their hair than some of the girls. I’m just glad I graduated before the onset of the Bert Convey “White Afro.”

    My Dad once told me that that there had been time-studies done to determine the optimum efficient time to shower to cleanliness. (I wanna say it was 6 minutes, BDQM) I have the feeling that those figures were devised when the crew cut was popular, if not mandatory.

    To depart from anecdote and return to policy, it seems that many schools (or their students) are or have ditched after-gym showers altogether.


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