For a male, getting picked last in gym class is a death sentence to one’s social status. Even the physical education activities that did not involve picking teams did little to help my cause, either. Chin-ups and rope climbing were one and the same to me, as they achieved the same effect: failure and shame.
In the case of chin-ups, my skinny legs would dangle helplessly beneath me as I strained to elevate my chin above the bar. One would think being a frail, skinny child would make this feat easier. It does not. As I hung from the bar like a sheet hung out to dry on a calm day, I was completely self-aware that all of my classmates were not only watching down below. But laughing.
Climbing a rope was a similar ordeal: rather than my legs dangling in the air, they would straddle the rope like a…
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