Long-ago PE classes remind of Bible verse

The first week of January is so scary. It is when all those “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days” messages keep popping up on my computer and smart phone. For someone who abhors exercise as much as I do, this causes nightmares. I should say I do not abhor working-type exercise, whether it is shoveling dirt, moving furniture, wallpapering or building something. I even like walking occasionally.

Lois Olmstead


However, anything that resembles regular moving-in-motion exercise, counting 1, 2, and 3, makes me cringe and run (not in place, either). It brings back memories of PE in high school, and that is a place where there are no happy memories. I wonder if they even have physical education in schools anymore?

Maybe it was declared unconstitutional by now, having the athletic types in the same class as us don’t-want-to-be-here types. I thought I was done forever with PE when I graduated from Park County High. Then I got to register for college and found, to my horror, that some stupid curriculum committee put PE classes in the required column for graduation from Montana State College (now MSU)!

Not only that, you had to be able to swim the length of the pool in order to graduate! I was so desperate to get out of the class that I went to the prove-yourself session during frosh week. I figured God and sheer will power would enable me to go the distance.

Evidently God thought I needed the class because I didn’t make it to the end of the pool in spite of my arms flaying like windmills in the water. So I was stuck with three months of swim classes. I hated it. When it came time for the final, I made it to the end of that pool swimming with strokes that had yet to be invented. I was not doing that again.

The next quarter of college, I took Rifle Marksmanship. I thought “Mom is a great hunter. Maybe I inherited some of that.” Wrong. I did not inherit any of that. I was a dismal shot. As a matter of fact, I nearly became the first woman ever to flunk the class. Or at least that is what my instructor told me.

He was an Army type. I really thought he picked on me. He had a grudge against me ever since I got a bulls-eye — in the target next to mine. Really. I thought it quite an accomplishment myself.

Toward the end of the quarter all of us in the class were on our bellies in a line facing the targets with rifles in hand. He walked by, bent down, and tapped me on the shoulder. I did what anybody would do. I rolled over, rifle in hand, to face him. He fell all over himself trying to get away. That was when he told me I was going to be the first student who ever flunked his class in the “history of Montana State College.”

He must have softened his thinking when it came to report card time. Or else the thought of having me repeat the class changed his mind. I got a D in Rifle Marksmanship.

I had one more quarter to go. Spring quarter. The only PE class with an open slot that fit my class schedule was baseball. Great. I got a D in that class, too.

So you exercise types give me some slack. I have a Fitbit thing now. Perhaps I will be walking miles this January. Maybe we all could memorize Bible verses while we do fitness stuff.

How about Isaiah 40:31? “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 

That is the perfect verse for me.


 EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loiso@wispwest.net or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.