Ropeclimbing: An Elementary School Torture Technique

In elementary school in the late 70s and early 80s, we were required to climb the rope that was hanging from the rafters in the gym.

Rope-climbing day was my own particular nightmare.

Some students could fly up to the top.  I, however, couldn’t make it five inches off of the ground.

I remember walking into the gym and seeing that bastardly rope trailing out of the sky like a giant, evil, hand-cutting snake.

I remember wishing I would’ve known so I could have stayed home that day.

I remember hating the gym teacher who was constantly swinging their whistle around and around. Swish, swish.

I remember praying for a fire drill, a tornado drill, or even an earthquake.

I remember pretending to listen to the vague directions from the wind-pants teacher.

I remember waiting in the line while each and every kid attempted the rope nightmare.

I remember perspiring so much that my hands felt clammy, much like rubber cement.

I remember staring up to the top wondering what this proved to the world.

I remember getting on the monster rope and not moving up an inch.

And, I remember walking away from the horrible rope with my head held down.

Sadly, this was how one was judged.  Gym class was it’s own sort of hell on Earth.  And, quite possibly, a hideous, horrible rite of passage.

Recently, I asked my now fourth-grader what his favorite class was this year.

His answer? Gym class.

I do so hope he is better at rope-climbing than I was.

Even the picture makes me feel a little nauseous.

Even the picture makes me feel a little nauseous.

10 thoughts on “Ropeclimbing: An Elementary School Torture Technique

  1. Gah…a million rope and pull-up memories are flooding back. Even the mile-around-the-track was an awful judgment against. My kid also likes gym class so far. I hope they have changed things up since I was a kid.

    • The dreaded mile around the track! I hated that so much. I like running now, but that was torture. My son told me they learned the Cupid Shuffle this past week. I would’ve loved the dancing in gym!

  2. Ugh.. it was awful. I hated gym. We had the ugliest uniforms and I was generally last to be picked for a team. My athleticism has come much later as an adult– without the uniforms (bike clothes are cool), and no competition!

  3. I remember dreading those days as well! Could any relative of mine climb that stupid rope with ease? Oh yes, all of my brothers could and I was teased unmercifully! I survived. through the years, I’ve never had the strength in my arms but no one tests me but me…good grades aren’t necessary for that….thank heavens!

  4. I hated that thing too. I was always one of “those kids” that was told to just hold on for 10 seconds instead of actually climb. I kinda wonder if I could do it now? Nah…

  5. I, too, hated gym. Especially that rope and any moment that required me serving the volleyball. When I’d fail to get it over the net, the teacher would say, “Don’t be sorry. Just don’t do it like that again.” Ironically, my girls are the ones who make it to the top of the rope…ahh, parenthood.

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