A LESSON FROM 5TH GRADE PE
I can’t remember much from 5th grade PE, but one day is as clear as can be.
On the day that I remember well, our PE teachers had us run and run and run for the first half of class (and I ran more than most as running was my thing). Once we were basically worn flat out, the coaches used the second half of class to drive home a point about the value of taking care of yourself. They gave each student a straw and told us to run until they blew the whistle. So I’m running, running, running and getting pretty tired. Finally the whistle blows and I think I’m going to get some reprieve when they give us our instructions: we are only to catch our breath through the straw we’ve been given.
As it turns out, that’s nearly impossible for a bunch of exhausted 5th graders. I cheated (because there was no way I was going to admit I couldn’t). I could hardly breathe.
My PE teacher went on to connect this to why folks with emphysema experienced exhaustion so quickly. I have no idea how accurate a comparison this is, but for the first time, 11 year old me understood that this was why my grandmother always needed to take breaks while we were playing....