Vs. The Rope Climb

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Odds and Ends
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s the deal.  For many years I supplemented my income by tutoring.  I’d typically work with 3rd through 6th graders and one of the most common questions I was asked was, “Why do I need to know this?”  I would tell the children that they need to know basic language arts and math skills just to function as an adult.  I would tell them that they might need to know Biology if they decided to be a doctor when they grew up.  They might need to know Computer Science if they grow up to design video games.  And they might need to know History if they grow up and find out that no one is willing to buy their hilarious screenplays and that they have to supplement their income by tutoring History.

But I don’t know why they would need to know how to climb up a rope.

There was a time when every school gymnasium in the country had a rope hanging from the ceiling…and many still do.  A long strand of twine leading to nowhere.  Traditionally the P.E. rope climb serves three educational purposes: (1) to promote anxiety and dread in the student as they anticipate their turn and watch the coach yelling at the other kids to scale the rope, (2) to humiliate and ostracize those children with below average upper arm strength and (3) to foster rope burns on the hands and inner thighs as these youngsters slide back to Earth after their ascension.

There may or may not have also been an athletic component to the activity.

Three-strand twisted natural fibre rope

Whatever the thought process, I’m sure there are less humiliating and ridiculous ways to work those muscles.  This must be the most useless thing we’re taught in school.  When are we ever going to need to climb a rope in life?  When, other than in a junior high gym, would we even have the opportunity to climb a rope in life?  And why did educators decide that our nation’s youth must have this virtually worthless skill set?

If P.E. class were any indication, kids would think that their parent’s commute to work involved tip-toeing across balance beams, climbing a rope up to their office, and leaping to avoid dodge balls as they run down the hall to get their morning coffee.  Granted, work might be a little more exciting if this were the case, but the health care coverage for rope burns would skyrocket.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I put an end to this sadistic practice?  For years I’ve been petitioning school districts to implement more practical physical education programs – activities that the kids will actually be able to use when they get older.  Stretching exercises for increased stamina at those long DMV lines, running after your toddler before they use that crayon to draw purple monkeys on the wall again, carrying four grocery bags in one hand and hopscotch (okay, hopscotch isn’t particularly useful…but gosh darned if it ain’t fun).  Yes, I’ve been trying to change the system, but nobody listens.  Frankly, I’m at the end of my rope.

  1. Angelina says:

    I was never good at the rope climb. I thought it should have been banned years ago along with tag football, field hockey, the jungle gym, the monkey bars, hurtles, long division, and fractions.

  2. Jackie says:

    HATE the rope. Failed miserably at it. I don’t want to pull the girl card or anything but *seriously*? Asking a 10 year old girl to climb up a rope with her little 10 year old girl arms is nothing short of abusive.

  3. Elizabeth Dodd says:

    I usually do the rope climb wrong and end up dangling upside down with it tangled around my waist, legs and arms, crying like a little baby. Not a pretty sight.

  4. heathersnyder1 says:

    The rope climb is the only thing I am good at. And, swinging on the rope like Tarzan is fun, too.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Angelina – Yeah, who needs fractions? Like, I don’t know, 3/5 of us will never use them.

      Jackie – I feel your pain. Although I was a 10 year old boy, I too had 10 year old girl arms.

      Elizabeth – You should consider a career with Cirque du Soleil.

      Heather – And how has this skill served you in life? Have you had opportunities to climb ropes in your daily life?

      • heathersnyder1 says:

        I have used that skill to help me climb half way up poles for my work to be able to reach cable lines above conduit to clamp the locator around the lines. That’s not fun, I usually end up with a splinter or two on my inner thighs. I have also been rappeling on occasion.

  5. Lokyra Stone says:

    I will tell you exactly why they implemented Rope Climbing.

    The schools know that the history of the human race will inevitably derail upon collision with the Zombie Apocalypse.
    Yes. How do you know that your survival after Apocalypse Z sets in won’t rest squarely on your rope climbing ability? Huh? You get chased by a bunch of zombies, and your Apocalypse Buddy throws down a rope from the ceiling tile or the roof of a building, and you get eating because you COULD NOT CLIMB THE DAMN ROPE!!!!

    Also, what if you wanted to be like Doctah Jones?

    • heathersnyder1 says:

      @ Lokyra, I dream of the day that Dr. Indiana Jones will grab me by my hand. While brushing that whisp of hair out of my eyes he says, “Aren’t you glad you learned the rope climb in school?”. I say, “Uh huh, I sure am, Indie!”. He throws his arms around me and we climb ropes together. Then we disappear off into the sunset.

  6. heathersnyder1 says:

    @Lokyra, it’s ok, Indie had several leading women. No one has to be Short Round. LOL!

    • Lokyra Stone says:

      Well all right. That works for me. I don’t think he had a redhead leading woman…

      • heathersnyder1 says:

        There is no better time than now to be Indiana Jones’s redheaded leading lady. So, make that one brunette and one redheaded leading ladies with lots of rope climbing involved…coming up. Can I have a cute little monkey sidekick, too? I have always wanted a cute little monkey sidekick that stays on my shoulders. I shall name her Penelope Monkey.

      • Lokyra Stone says:

        @Heather- Works for me. I’m quite all right with sharing.
        Definitely need a little monkey sidekick. I’m debating between a pet black panther, or an attack ferret.

  7. heathersnyder1 says:

    Yayyy, I get a little monkey sidekick and you Lokyra, have the pet black panther. I used to work at a veterinary hospital thousands of years ago. We used to get pet ferrets in…they are a little stinky, cute but stinky. So black panther would be the better choice, and they are super kick-ass.

    • Lokyra Stone says:

      And not quite as stinky. I think. Never been around a big cat for longer than a few minutes, out in the open air.
      I think I would look gooood with a black panther sidekick.

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