7th Grade Gym Class Hell

“Get it! GET IT!” my teammates shout as the gleaming white volleyball hurtles toward me like a meteor.

More defensively than athletically, I stick my palm outward to shove the ball away from my face. My face – always the target of flying objects – as if all the surgical trauma wasn’t enough.

The ball makes an unsatisfying thwack sound as it makes contact with my hand. Seconds later it hits the floor.

Everyone groans. The gym teacher’s whistle blasts piercingly and we rotate. I shuffle into the next spot, praying that the ball will somehow avoid coming anywhere near me.

The other team’s server can’t get the ball over the net. At least I’m not the only gym class failure here today.

Our team serves. The more athletic girls volley the ball back and forth over the net. They actually seem to be having fun. What is that like? I wonder.

Suddenly, the ball is coming my way again. My pulse quickens as my brain tries to decide the proper course of action. This time it is to step out of the way to avoid being hit.

The ball sails out of the court and my teammates groan and roll their eyes at each other. Why is this girl such a loser? I can hear them asking each other.

I allow myself to feel empty. Feeling nothing makes it easier to bear the shame and embarrassment of being so physically inept. If I could vaporize into thin air, I would do it.

The minute hand on the clock moves ever so slowly. I consider that the clock might actually be broken. It will surely be an eternity before I am allowed to change out of the unflattering gray gym clothes and feel the comforting weight of my books in my arms.

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