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Member since: Wed Dec 14, 2011, 07:40 PM
Number of posts: 661

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It depends on the school district.

There are a few good programs. PE4Life, which has been shown to actually reduce bullying, is excellent.

But different school districts have different programs and policies. Here's a rhetorical question: Would the school districts of Berkeley, California, and Philadelphia, Mississippi, be expected to have the same P.E. program? Several years ago Coach Tim McCord, who is a leading proponent of PE4Life, informed me in an e-mail that the "old P.E." is still with us in some districts. I've read posts submitted at other websites by nonathletic teenagers who have indicated that they're struggling with exactly the same kind of P.E. that I had had to endure when I was a boy.

There is another problem, and that is prejudice. Unfortunately, some boys' P.E. coaches are afflicted with machismo -- which means that when the coach sees a nonathletic boy who is scrawny or fat, he sees a student who is inferior. A boy who's unmanly or effeminate simply because he isn't good at sports. By the way, would a high-school football coach be willing to "shift gears" and teach nonathletic boys about exercise programs such as bodybuilding?

I'm well acquainted with machismo. I hate it with every fiber of my being. When I was in the eighth grade, an incompetent psychologist sent me to a judo instructor, a white guy who had played football at a local university. I always felt like an outsider in his dojo. I also felt patronized because he promoted me to brown belt, a promotion I clearly did not deserve. He didn't even require me to take a test of some sort. I finally decided to put an end to this nonsense and quit during the spring of my junior year in high school -- expecting to hear a protest from him, but receiving none.

Eight years later I paid him a visit at his home. Without any solicitation from me, he told me, "James (not my real first name), I saved you from homosexuality." What the ... I thought you could save someone from something only when it was about to be forced upon him against his will. What had happened was that on the first day we met, he saw a physically weak boy who had no self-confidence, liked to read H.G. Wells and books about wildlife, and did not resist bullies because they were all stronger than he was. So, naturally, I just had to be a sissy; right? The only problem with that garbage is that I'm not gay and have been happily married for over 30 years as the proud father of two sweet and beautiful daughters.

Whether on this particular occasion or another, he also told me that only athletes and men in certain blue-collar vocations were "real men"; and he even denigrated Andrei Sakharov, the now deceased Soviet physicist who had become a human rights spokesman. My former judo instructor denied that Sakharov was very courageous, that he felt free to speak out simply because he was supported by the international media. (Dr. Sakharov had more courage and compassion in his little finger than my former judo instruction does in his entire misshapen body.) And to top it off, he indicated that bullying was no big deal, that the guy bullied at work by his boss could always give the family dog a big kick when he got home. Nice guy!

By the way, he happens to be a Republican; but I dare say there are also so-called "progressives" who have the same stilted view of what supposedly constitutes true masculinity.

This rant has come to an end, but I don't regret it.
Posted by radicalliberal | Wed Nov 28, 2012, 07:21 PM (0 replies)
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