Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Spud’s PE Theories

My son sent me the following in an email a few days ago, and I asked his permission to post it here for your entertainment. Enjoy, won’t you?

I was bored in PE this morning, as usual, because they had us playing basketball. I hate basketball. It’s the worst sport. Then I thought, why? Why is it the worst school sport? I came up with a couple theories.

Property of Popularity

In middle school there are the popular kids and the unpopular kids. There are plenty of popular kids.

There are also quite a few basketball hoops in our gym, and about as many tens of basketball players. Of course, this is common for any selection of schools. But anyway, I wondered one morning if there was a connection. What made students popular? What you looked like? What friends you had? How much profanity you can utter in a single sentence? These are merely subfactors.

The true determining measure of popularity in my school is basketball skill. If a person plays basketball very well, or at least a lot, then that person is seen as a very athletic person who takes interest into a very popular thing.

With this new theory, we can safely assume that

Popularity = Basketball Skill(appearance + relationships + vocabulary)

Basketball Is A Team Sport No Longer

As the property above suggests, basketball has become a contest for individual popularity. The popular kids have to outplay the unpopular kids. Therefore, the unpopular kids, such as myself, never get the ball.

A popular kid with the basketball will pass to another popular kid, but this merely adds to the relationships variable in the Theory of Popularity. And they will hardly add any other signs of cooperation at all. Teamwork is invalid. Seriously athletic kids in middle school are, with little variation, people who only care about their own popularity.

Theory of Gym Relativity

The unpopular kids probably find that the popular kids don’t notice them in a game. At all. A player could be WIDE open, and the popular player will go on without a clue. This may trigger thoughts like, “What am I, invisible?!

Maybe that’s the case, to a degree.

If you aren’t in possession of anything important (like, for instance, a basketball), there’s no worth in making interaction. Especially if you are standing still. Then you are the closest thing to invisible.

This even works in dodgeball. If you stand perfectly still next to a wall, and you don’t have a ball, popular kids won’t take notice of you. This is because, in relativity to them, you are worthless and therefore nonexistent. There aren’t many variables to this. I’ve tried it and it works.


Come to think on it, I don’t miss middle school. Not one bit…


  1. Wendi

    Dang…It’s interesting to see that nothing has changed since I was in school taking P.E.

    very well done.

  2. Lil

    You clearly have a brilliant kid; that was an amazing essay. And it certainly seems that nothing has changed in PE since I was in middle school (back in the early 80’s), except that I hear they don’t play dodgeball anymore because too many kids got hurt. I hated dodgeball because I always got hurt (the mean popular boys liked to target the skittish unpopular girls with glasses).

  3. Mari

    That is an awesome essay! I love that he has analyzed it it to that degree and I am frightened because it’s so true…

    I never feared Dodgeball because I had better aim and a meaner arm than most of the popular kids and they knew it… It didn’t change my popluarity quotient, but it did make me less of a target…

  4. Joe

    That was a great Essay, and very very true..

  5. Sarah

    Wow. You have one very intelligent and observant guy.

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