If God is in charge of everything, why can’t He wipe out gym class?
My Sunday school teacher taught us in Genesis that He made all things good. Gym class isn’t good. I’m not good in gym class. The kids in my class don’t behave good. I know, I’m supposed to use the word well, but I’m trying to make a point. Gym class isn’t good.
My hate, er, dislike of gym class started three years ago in the second grade. I wasn’t very coordinated, a fact that hasn’t changed. Coach Krauss brought out the lemon twist toys that you wrap around your ankle and skip over. I kept tripping over the lemon, and everyone laughed, including Coach Krauss. Just when I was about to toss the thing in the garbage, Dori Wagner’s twist flew off her ankle and smack into my eye. I had a black eye for the rest of the week.
This year gym class is on Wednesdays. I dread it in the beginning of the week. Then I stew about it for the rest of the week. Mom said I need to find the positive. Well, I’m positive I don’t like it.
When I moved here to Cheektowaga, New York last summer from Madison, Wisconsin, I learned one thing right off the bat. I learned I could move a million miles away and I’d still detest gym class. We’re in a kickball rotation. It’s not a friendly game. I’m still new enough that kids signal me out with stealth precision, teasing me as they hammer the ball at me.
“Becky Bartow the class cow, moooooove away or you’ll get hit!”
If I had the nerve that I have with you, diary, I’d remind Wayne Kendall that he has greasy hair. Apparently greasy hair ranks above the new girl with baby fat and glasses because he got away with it. Not even the kids on my team helped me.
Kickball’s over. Now it’s dodge ball. Isn’t it the same torture, different name? Mr. Cassidy announced a change in the roster, like we’re a professional team. Shelby Gallagher would be in our class for a couple weeks because she was going to miss her own gym class because of appointments. Name sounds familiar, but not sure who she is. Maybe, just maybe she’ll be new enough the class will smell the fresh blood and leave me alone. Yeah right.
Something different happened in gym class today. Shelby Gallagher shocked everyone so much with her appearance that they had no voice to pick on me. She was in a wheelchair! No one knew what to do, so she took the first cue and nailed Wayne Kendall right on the top of his head. Funny thing is, it was greasy enough the ball rolled right off. She dominated the class. She was so good I threw a ball to her, which she caught.
“You throw it Becky, you can do it.”
“Not as good as you.”
“You won’t know if you don’t throw it.”
With that, she tossed the ball to me and pointed to Ashley Miller. Ashley was chewing gum and talking to Cindi Abbott. Shelby smiled and nodded. A two-fer. I nailed them both with one shot. Their protests were music to my ears.
Shelby and I entered gym class together. I couldn’t help but stare at her. It wasn’t the wheelchair, it was her confidence. Absolutely nothing fazed her. She told me her appointments weren’t for her wheelchair but for her braces. Sure enough, she flashed me a mouth full of silver.
“Shelby, do kids pick on you?”
“Sure they do, but I don’t care. Jesus says I’m all that and I believe it.”
“Psalm 139. God knew I’d be in a wheelchair, He knew I’d have braces way before He created the earth. He knew I’d struggle with what kids would say and do and yet He loves me, you too, Becky. When the insults come I just remind myself that I’m all that.”
I repeated the phrase several times during gym class, even when I got hit in dodge ball. As soon as I got home I looked up the verse. Diary, I’ve been paying more attention to you than the Bible. That Psalm was amazing, it was everything Shelby said. Diary, I’m all that. Even in gym class.
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