Locker Room Chapter 2 Verse 1
Paul once wrote that he had “fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Which was all well and good for him, but he never had to do the Beep test in front of dozens of teenagers.
Twas’ the season of the running curriculum in Julia’s gym class. The entire class had to alternatively run two circuits, the long and the short. Julia was part of the fortunate body of students whose physical ability allowed them to not deeply despise gym class. As a result of this, she was in good graces with the Gym Teacher Macdougal and with the rest of the students. She even geared down during her long circuit so the other girls wouldn’t look slower.
Julia had noticed that the social capital attached to athleticism had no similar parallel in other parts of the high school social arena. It was almost as if the ancient Greek Olympic traditions had survived in this one small pocket of western civilization. A stadium of one’s peers sat back in uncomfortable wooden seating to sift the weak from the strong through a series of grueling challenges while sporting a uniform they probably don’t want to be seen in. And don’t forget the homoeroticism.
Unlike math class, the locker room was one of the only spaces where Julia had an advantage. Looking around every Monday and Wednesday at the girls who shifted closer to the walls and tried to hide their stomachs, Julia couldn’t help but feel conflicted between feelings of superiority and feelings of compassion.
The route around the school was mapped at around 3 kilometers which was proving more difficult for some students than others. Julia started at a slow pace, running with her friends through the streets shaded by pines that lined the school track. Three-quarters of the way through the race, the obscenely paved concrete walkway by the community center caught Julia’s bad volleyball ankle and tripped her into the grass. Only a little bit discouraged and mostly thankful for a rest, she sat down in the grass as the others passed her until the slight swelling went down. Bringing up the rear was Kendall, one of the girls in Julia’s gym class that found the circuit the most difficult. Kendall stopped next to Julia and put her hands on her hips to catch her breath. They looked at each other through Kendall’s labored breathing. Julia stood up and walked over to her.
“Could you help me walk back to the class?” Julia said easily. Kendall looked immensely grateful. She suddenly had an excuse for being at the back of the line. When the two crossed the finish line, Gym Teacher Macdougal thanked Kendall for helping her injured classmate and sent Julia to the nurse’s office. Julia felt confident in her decision to help Kendall get one step further to never having to take another gym class ever again. She felt strong from having some leftover social capital to spend and from creating more social capital in doing so.
In the world of Locker Rooms, it is wise to always have the extra social capital to spend, as it’s in the trenches, between the end of running circuits and hitting the showers, where one might need that capital the most.
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Body Image or Shame Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.