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).
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.
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?