There’s been articles and correspondence in the press about girls doing PE at school and why it always has been and still is unpopular. I guess many girls just don’t like dong sports and physical activities, however god for them and healthy it is to do them. These days there seems to be far more variety of sports on offer, as well as such things as yoga and pilates. In some of the letters to the paper I’ve read, people recount their own stories of PE at school – I think most girls these days would be horrified to read what others who went before had to do.
When I was at my junior school we had PE once a week and it was usually running around sorts of things, throwing bean bags, jumping on and off benches doing our own sort of dancing to music… and country dancing. Country dancing to music on records played on a record player… I actually enjoyed it, although my left/right problem and inability to keep in time did render me an unpopular partner! However I was so enthusiastic, that when the school took part in the city festival of dance where all the schools participated, I was the hobby-horse and was dancing for the whole event. How I wish I had a photo of that! Back to PE and we just took off our top clothes and did it in our vests and knickers, boys in just their school shorts. Some of us had navy blue knickers which were commended by one teacher as looking smart and sporty – I guess some of my school friends came from families where they couldn’t afford anything other than ordinary underwear. We went outside when the weather was fine and I think we played rounders, but I can’t remember what else we did.
Going on to secondary school and then we had PE uniform – blue knickers for gym, the horrible uncomfortable divided skirts for PE and an equally horrible short dress/tunic and matching knickers for dance which everyone, just everyone absolutely hated. PE in the winter was netball and hockey, and in the summer rand tennis… that was it; no athletics, no other sports – unless in the upper school you did lacrosse on a Thursday afternoon when it was clubs. I was in the local history club which meant getting on our bikes and riding off somewhere to hide.
I was quite a sporty person, not particularly good, but as with being a country dancer, very enthusiastic; I think now there would have been sports I could have been good at if given the opportunity, throwing things such as javelins and discus, judo/karate, and cricket, I think I would have been quite good at and enjoyed cricket… in those days there was no chance of that!
My featured image was of our reunion, the cake decoration was the outline of the bottle-green knickers we had to wear!