#6 – Steal the Bacon
Poor fat kid. He's already the object of everyone's scorn and contempt, and then comes the crowning injustice: this game doesn't involve bacon at all. The "bacon" is just some damn flag that two lines of kids are trying to run out and grab. You can't eat that! You can't eat a flag! At least not without mayo!
To be sure, the absence of real bacon is a shortcoming of this game. What redeems it, then? The absolute certainty of two kids running headlong into each other while trying to grab the "bacon" from the ground. Think the NFL's infamous helmet-to-helmet hits are brutal? Well, they're infinitely more entertaining when you remove those pesky helmets and let cranium strike cranium.
Little Billy went from being a promising student to a drooling vegetable after taking a shot to the noggin during that round of Steal the Bacon, but was it worth it? Of course! What's the higher brain functioning of one measly kid matter when the other 28 have learned a valuable lesson about how to swipe pork products? These are the skills we'll really need in a post-apocalyptic world.
#7 – Not Being Picked Last
Sure, the actual games in gym class might not be much to watch, but the pageantry and heated competition of this event more than makes up for it. Watch as the nerdy kids and the uncoordinated kids jockey for position as the more popular, athletic kids pick sides. Watch them puff out their scrawny chests to appear stronger and stand up straight to look taller!
They'll do anything to avoid a fate worse than death: being picked last for dodgeball. That's the sort of thing that will turn a 9 year-old into the school's biggest social pariah. At least until someone breaks wind during a spelling test. Then Mr. Picked Last will be off the hook.
#8 – Volleyball
When played by competent volleyballers, this game can be exciting to play and fun to watch. When played by your average gym class, it's even better in its own way. There will be three good players — max — in any 30-person class, yet Coach will insist that you spend a week playing volleyball. It sounds terrible at first, until you realize that "playing volleyball" is really just a code for "standing around" when everyone's awful at it.
Sure, you'll have to occasionally take your turn serving the ball out of bounds or into the net, but after that, you're just one rotation away from 15 sweet minutes of inactivity as the ball thuds harmlessly to the floor over and over again. You won't even break a sweat! It's the next best thing to forgetting your gym clothes and being "punished" by having to sit out for the day.
#9 – Tennis Baseball
It's exactly the same as baseball, except instead of a baseball and a bat you use a tennis ball and a racket. This is the sort of innovation that makes gym teachers excited to wake up in the morning. It's all the fun of baseball with none of the strikeouts, injuries, or excruciating cycles of steroids and growth hormones!
Plus, it enables the school to get some return on all those tennis rackets they bought when the principal had a hunch that the Agassi-Sampras rivalry was going to make tennis relevant again for the kids. It didn't, but tennis baseball saves the rackets from their only other potential use: rousing games of Let's Hit Each Other With These Tennis Rackets.
#10 – Being the Early Onset Puberty Kid
Hands down, this is the best possible activity in gym class. He may only be 9 years-old, a mere speck of humanity, but when it comes to gym class, the world is Early Onset Puberty Kid's oyster. His towering 5'5" height makes him borderline unstoppable in any game he plays, and the wispy mustache that's sprouting in spotty patches on his lip gives him an intimidation factor the other kids can't match. For a year or two, this kid is Wilt Chamberlain, Albert Pujols, and Peyton Manning rolled into one.
Inevitably, the other kids will catch up to him, and by the time he's 17 he'll be a short 5'5" man who's already losing his hair thanks to the surplus of testosterone that helped him grow so quickly, but man, he'll never forget his fifth grade gym class heroics. He'll tell his kids about them some day. Or he would if anyone wanted to procreate with a short, balding man whose life peaked at age 11.