#11 – Climbing the Rope
Lots of gym class activities don't really translate very well into students' adult lives; while crab soccer may be fun, it's never really going to help anyone out of a jam. Climbing up a rope, though? It teaches all sorts of valuable skills: how to recover from a rope burn, how best to pad one's fall from a high distance, the easiest way to look up a classmate's shorts … these are lessons students will employ literally every single day in their adult lives. When it's time to climb out of a fiery pit of lava on little more than a long hanging rope — and mark our words, it will eventually be that time — you'll thank your gym teacher.
Of course, when it's your turn to climb up the rope, it's no fun. The rest of the period is a comedy goldmine, though, as one student after another makes it halfway up, loses their grip, and comes crashing down with a resounding thud of failure. (Imagine the sound of a cantaloupe dropping onto a sidewalk.) Plus, the rope climb often gives way to an even more fun activity: Guess What That Kid Broke in His Fall.
#12 – Making Fun of the Fat Kid
Make no mistake: it's a hard life being the fat kid. He's perpetually short of breath, and with a physique like that he'll be lucky to make it to his 25th birthday without having a massive heart attack. Childhood obesity is a grave, tragic problem that affects far too many children in this country.
That being said, man, is it ever funny to have one of these tubs of goo in your gym class! It's really kind of the whole point of gym. There's always something to mock! No matter how far he kicks the ball in kickball, he can never quite waddle to first base in time. In any other sport he'll be consigned to playing catcher or goalie, not so much because he's particularly good at catching, but because his swollen body has the most surface area. Just wait until he tries to be the anchor of his tug-of-war team. The moment he falls down will be funnier than history's 20 best YouTube videos combined.
The exercising fat kid hits his absolute apex if your gym class ever has to use a swimming pool, though. Not wanting to be mocked for his extreme girth, chubso will invariably wear a t-shirt into the pool. Smart thinking, fatty! A sopping wet white t-shirt will totally conceal your heaving boy boobs; that's why wet t-shirt contests are so unpopular. With your brains and body, you're sure to go far!
#13 – Running Laps
Nothing says, "Coach drank too much last night and spent the night sleeping outside his ex-wife's house" quite as clearly as the announcement that today's gym class will involve running laps. Nevermind that your average gym student can run about three laps before running out of breath and wheezing to a halt; coach doesn't want to hear any lip today. Just run those laps.
Of course, "running laps" gradually turns into "walking around the gym or the track in a vaguely circular pattern," which gives way to "standing around" before making a natural transition back to everyone's favorite game: Making Fun of the Fat Kid. Sorry, dude. Barring some sort of dramatic Jerry O'Connell turnaround, the rest of your life is going to be like this, so you might as well get used to it now. At least coach is grateful that you're letting him burn off his hangover in peace. He might not call you "Chunk" anymore. Don't count on it, though.
#14 – President's Physical Fitness Test
Remember this gem? One gym day out of every year, you'd have to prove your mettle to the President himself — be advised: you personally disappointed President Clinton several times — by performing a series of exercises. Do them well enough and you got a little certificate saying you won the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
If you couldn't do them? No big deal. You were probably good at other things, like eating brownies, crying, and being terrible at life.
Now, though? Everyone gets an award. Everyone! Even the kids who are awful at everything. They win the "Participant Physical Fitness Award." There's an honor to put on your resume! Here's the program's actual delightfully condescending text for the award: "Woo hoo! There's room for improvement, but these students showed great heart. Students earn this award if they participate in all five activities, and one or more of their scores fall below the 50th percentile." In other words, "Congratulations on not dying during this easy exam. You are America's hope for the future!" Now that's fun!
#15 – Staying in the Locker Room to Hide an Erection
Girls get to sit out of gym when they're having their periods, but the school board stubbornly refuses to recognize "having a boner" as a medical condition. Between boxer shorts, gym shorts, and being 13, you've got no chance of hiding your hard-on, so your only chance is hiding in the locker room until it goes away on its own. Try thinking about something unsexy, like the humiliation that definitely awaits you once the dodgeball game gets started. Maybe even ask a good friend to pelt you with the dodgeball directly on the penis. Otherwise, you could just try hiding somewhere that nobody would think to look. The smart money's on the locker room shower.