From Tracie: What The Sue Heck Is Tinikling?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What The Sue Heck Is Tinikling?

When I was in seventh grade, I managed to get myself excused from PE entirely so I could have five days of band. It was amazing. But when eighth grade came, my musical magic failed me, and I found myself in a PE class two days a week.

There are so many things that could be said about my PE experience that year:
  • I was the best at "duck and cover" during volleyball, but no one on my team appreciated my specific talent.
  • The same was true for basketball. 
  • I could throw a softball pretty well, but not well enough to make up for jumping away from the plate anytime the ball came flying towards my face. 
  • Bowling...well, you already know all about what an amazing bowler I am (and by amazing, I mean it is amazing I have yet to break a bowling lane).
But there was one six week term of PE that I really enjoyed in eighth grade...Tinikling.

Tinikling is a kind of dance where two people hold long bamboo poles, and beat, tap, and slide them on the ground and against each other in rhythm while the dancers jump and step over and in between the poles.

I've never met someone who wasn't in my middle school PE class who knows what Tinikling* is. So I was very surprised and excited when it was featured on tonight's episode of The Middle. The daughter, Sue Heck, finds out she is one PE credit short of graduating, and joins a PE class part way through the year. She is informed by the gym teacher that she is going to have to master a Tinikling routine to pass. If you don't watch the show, you should know that Sue is very clumsy and uncoordinated, and the look of fear and horror on her face was perfect. Exactly how I imagine my own face looked the day the bamboo poles were pulled out of the gym closet.

There was a lot of great Tinikling action in the episode. Most of it demonstrating just how hard it is to tinikle. It is hard to be the dancer, and possibly even harder to be one of the bamboo pole people. At one point Sue tries to get her parents to help her practice using a broom and mop, only to be shown up by her sporty brother. But in the end, she puts forth a masterful Tinikling routine to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off.

Sue Heck Tinikling Video link - thanks to Lee at My Sentiment ExactLee for recording this for me!

That was the one big difference between Sue Heck's Tinikling experience and mine. She tinikled to popular music. I tinikled to the sound of preschool children's voices singing from a little pink record player in the corner of the gym.

To cap the episode off with perfection, there was one final similarity in Sue's and my PE experiences when the gym teacher happily announced that they would be doing gymnastics next. We did gymnastics at my school after Tinikling, too.

Gymnastics wasn't too bad. It is where I learned how to do this amazing (and by amazing, I mean it is amazing I haven't fallen on my head doing it), really bad cartwheel.


*Tinikling is a traditional Philippine dance, and when I look it up online, I find lots of schools that use it in their PE programs. So I guess my school wasn't so very weird after all. At least where Tinikling was concerned.

Did you have a favorite term in PE? Did you Tinikling dance in middle school?

32 comments:

  1. Never heard about Tinikling? I do love that show the middle. Will have to catch the episode on demand!

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    1. Oh, you are going to laugh.

      This was my favorite episode (obviously). We are new to watching The Middle, but have caught up on all the early episodes over the last couple of months. My whole family loves it.

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  2. I love Sue Heck! She is just so adorably enthusiastic!

    I have actually heard of Tinikling, but never had it as a unit in PE.

    Fun post!

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    1. She is!! Sue Heck is my favorite.

      Love that you have heard of Tinikling, even if you didn't get to do it in PE.

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  3. I've never heard of Tinikling before, What's the Time Mr. Wolf or Dodgeball were staples for PE. I used to go to Gymnastics/Calisthenics outside of school, that was always fun. I can relate to Sue Heck, I'm not coordinated at all, so learning dance routines can be slightly problematic.

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    1. We did Dodgeball. I was almost always the first one out.

      I enjoyed Gymnastics, even though I was not good at it at all. It was fun. I would almost think about taking a gymnastics/calisthenics class now.

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  4. I totally watched this episode tonight and had never heard of this before, but I absolutely loved how Sue Heck nailed it at the end. Perfect ;)

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    1. Right? She was awesome! I love Sue, so I'm always excited when things go her way. #YearOfSue

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  5. I had seen Tinikling, but never knew what it was called before The Middle (Best show ev-ah!). I'm flashing back to our square dance unit in 9th grade PE. Being 5'11" it was awkward dancing with some of the shorter boys, esp. when they had to twirl me under their arms. My hair got stuck on someone's watch once. Good times, good times!

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    1. For real the best show ever!

      I didn't do PE in seventh grade, but I was required to take part in the middle school cotillion classes. We did lots of swing and fox trots as well. There were a lot of awkward moments when trying to twirl. Oh my gosh. Memories.

      I've never tired square dancing, but always thought it looked fun.

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  6. Every time I read this I think you're saying tinkling. Oy. ;) I've never heard of it. But gym class was not my forte growing up.

    We do similar cartwheels. Do you ever wish you could do one? I swore I did one once. Forever ago. It was probably a dream. But it just makes me love you more to see that. ;) xo

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    1. LOL! Trust me. That was the joke every middle school kid made for the whole six weeks. The words are just too close.

      When we learned in PE, we had to do them on balance beams - not set up high like in the Olympics, they were down on the ground. I remember feeling like I was AMAZING at my cartwheels. But I'm pretty sure they always looked like that.

      One day....when we finally meet in person....we have to do cartwheels together. <3

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  7. You just took me back in time with that memory of doing that in PE :)

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  8. Volleyball was my worst! I was duck and cover too! This is cute. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks! It is good to know I wasn't the only one duck and covering! LOL.

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  9. I remember my PE classes well. There were sections on various sports and gymnastics, but there was one teacher who spent several weeks teaching us the foxtrot and Virginia reel. That was so much more fun for me.

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    1. It wasn't in PE, but in 7th grade my whole class had to do extra cotillion classes, and we did a lot of foxtrotting. That was fun!

      I love that they worked it into your PE. What a great idea!

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  10. I have never heard of this but I know I would have loved it.

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    1. It's not too late! We could still do it now. I'm thinking it would be a great blog conference activity, right? ;-)

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  11. Your 8th grade PE class sounds waaaaay more fun than mine. Bowling!?! We didn't have bowling.
    Okay, you did have to tinkle {immature laugh} to preschool music…
    XOXO

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    1. Hehehehe! I know. It is too funny.

      One of the great things about bowling was getting to do it in the nice, air conditioned bowling alley!

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  12. That's new to me, too. I hated gym.

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  13. I'm Filipino, and I was surprised to see tinikling on the show. I've also heard that some PE classes have been adding it to their lesson plans.

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  14. Going to run and watch the Middle right now. (never herd of tinikling...and you and I do a cartwheel about the same!)

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  15. From someone who has seen you almost break a bowling alley, mini golf where we all had to duck and cover, it's MINI GOLF and has tossed you a soft object where you then turned into a ball on the ground I can say for certain, this is not your thing.

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  16. I had never heard of tinikling or the show The Middle - but I can definitely relate to how you felt about PE! Team sports involving any sort hand-eye coordination, and climbing the rope were not things that I enjoyed! Great post.

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  17. Oh my gosh, I actually know what Tinikling is! And it isn't because I had to do it in PE... Don't laugh but when I was younger, I was convinced that I would be famous for bringing some form of performance "back." {Yeah, middle school Erin had delusions.} And when researching dance and whatnot, I learned about it! We should totally have Tinikling at the next conference, hahaha!

    Side note. Your cartwheel? It was a thing of amazingness. Perfection, I say! ;)

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  18. So much cultural appropriation....

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  19. I remembered doing that in elementary school too and that was almost 50 years ago. Also square dancing, hula dancing, etc. Good thing because I STUNK at any form of sports. I finally figured out that I have like zero depth perception and that's why I couldn't hit a ball to save my life! #wonderfulschoolmemories

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  20. I don't remember ever doing that. I'd be awful at it. I have no rhythm.

    Loved the episode though. The Middle always makes me laugh.

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