School PE lessons can lead to a life-long passion for sport or a tendency to pair fitness with cold fields, colder showers and being picked last for the team. Indeed, A Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) found half of girls are put off exercising by their weekly trips to the PE department. Team MyDaily discusses how timetabled sport in our teens has affected our attitude to fitness now...
MyDaily Editor Sara McCorquodale, 29, says: When I think about PE I remember being 12-years-old, about to jump into my school's swimming pool for the first time and clocking a condom floating peacefully on the otherwise tempting-looking surface. This, naturally, coincided with discovering what a condom was. I will always be giddy with relief that I kept the thought, "Hmmm, there's a balloon in the pool," to myself.
In truth though, I was rubbish at PE and never really got into it. The changing rooms were freezing, I could barely do a forward roll and it's hard to get into outdoor hockey when it's constantly pissing it down (I'm from Scotland).
But that's not to say I didn't get bitten by the fitness bug. At 15, I joined a gym and never looked back. It turned out that when there was a hot shower to look forward to and no one expected me to do gymnastics, I loved exercising. PE and I didn't click, but exercise and I did - I just had to find the right setting to really let myself go.
MyDaily Deputy Editor Katie Jones, 26, says: P.E at an all girls school was an interesting experience and our ability to play sports divided us into one of three groups: the super keen P.E lover, the good enough to get by girls and the absolutely not interested girls with poor hand-to-eye co-ordination.
I was somewhere in-between group two and group three and it's safe to say I wouldn't be upset if I never saw a hockey stick again. However, in hindsight, it wasn't so much the sport that was the problem. I never skipped P.E and from tennis to rounders, I always gave lessons a good go. The thing that got me? Despite the fact that there were no boys involved, there were always those few who tried too hard to impress and put it this way, competitive teenage girls can be pretty vicious on a netball court.
Luckily, things got slightly more enjoyable by year 11, when we were allowed to do our own thing. My friends and I took up "swimming" at the local leisure centre. Obviously, there was the inevitable stress around what bikini was appropriate enough to wear, but with no teachers around, there was definitely more girly chat in the shallow end than any actual swimming. All of a sudden, P.E was fun and those competitive girls? They were still on the hockey pitch. It's funny how swimming lessons turned out to be the best bit of the week.
MyDaily Style Writer Daisy May Sitch, 25, says:
P.E - or Games, as it was called at my middle school (it was a Dorset thing) - was a happy time. Rounders on sunny green fields and netball in bright bibs on astroturf. Bunk off P.E – are you kidding me?
Ok, so the whole uniform thing was vile and my taste in trainers was non-existent but once I was in the secondary school swing of things - netball became my obsession. I was all about the pivot and being GA (Goal Attack). Plus my teacher totally said I could play for county. Talk about proudest moment EVER.
In short, P.E days at school were a good thing. Yes, the bleep test verged on torture and the whole not having big enough boobs to require a sports bra was slightly awk, but the rest of the time I was all high and zesty from all that fresh, outdoorsy organised fun.
MyDaily Celebrity Writer, Ellen Stewart, 23, says: From a young age, sport was drilled into me (thanks Dad). Every single team or solo sporting activity going was thrown at me in a bid to see if any would stick. Tennis, kayaking, badminton, trampolining, football, athletics, running (long and short distance), swimming and netball were all pursuits of mine at school.
I wasn't quite good (or tall enough) to be GA on the netball court but I was more than content middling as WD. I never wanted to be an athlete but I enjoyed being active. During mixed PE classes in secondary school, I knew some of the other girls felt self-conscious running about in front of the boys.
Looking back I guess I got off lightly not hitting puberty until I was 17. I could jump around in my kids-sized shorts and t-shirt AND not have to worry about my (non-existent) chest or bum.
I even opted to take physical education for GCSE and in our teeny class of 10 girls we were thick as thieves. There's a great sense of comradery which I really miss in my adult years after giving up pretty much all my former sports. I've found myself googling "local netball teams" a lot recently – I think it's about time I got back in the game.
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