The Good Sport

15 Jan 2020

The world is a complicated place. And there are many things that are not necessarily a black-and-white affair. It’s hard to figure this crazy place out and even harder to categorise it. Humans are, however, huge fans of categorisation. We love a good census and there is a reason for more than twenty-five-thousand Instagram posts under the hashtag ’labelmaker.’ There are, however, quite some problems that come with unhealthy labelling, especially when people are involved.

Even though it is, scientifically speaking, impossible to go through the world without certain biases, there are better ways of labelling people than according to their race, sex, or nationality. What is their stance on ’Die Hard’ being the best Christmas movie, for example? Would they save hedgehogs in need? Have they ever ugly-cried at the library during exam week and if not: what is their secret? But the best way of labelling people is, without any doubt: were they fond of PE in high school or not?

There are exactly two types of people in the world. People who liked PE in school and people who didn’t. I, for example, come from a long line of people who neither liked nor excelled at Physical Education. As a matter of fact, the name Physical Education alone makes me a special kind of uncomfortable. It’s authoritative. And every time I spell it out, I want to kick over a trashcan and then light it on fire.

Not because I don’t see the importance of staying fit. On the contrary. I think it’s very important. As a matter of fact, ever since I’m not forced anymore to run around in circles once a week and then be urged to climb a pole for a reason I can’t think of other than being a very eccentric firefighter or a very weird stripper, I actually took on jogging and discovered how much I like it. I even have a fitness studio subscription. And I use it. But I hated PE so much that it took me more than twenty years and a relocation to a different country to discover that I do like sports.

There might be other countries who did a better job at structuring their PE lessons than Germany, where I was forced to do a handstand even though I’m barely capable of proper functioning when standing upright. And even if they didn’t. There are always people who are just naturally good at throwing a basketball correctly. If you are one of them: what is it like to be popular? Asking for a friend.

But even though the world might be divided in people who liked PE and people who got picked last at every single team sport during it, there is hope. Or at least: there is a sport for everyone. Some activity that is good for both body and soul. And once you overcome the ’I sucked at PE’-label, you might actually discover a love for something that could have been taught properly in the first place.

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