Remembering My Foolish Pride

While reading several blogs online, I noticed that this 100 pushup challenge has come up a lot. Many people are aspiring to do 100 pushups in one consecutive swoop with a six week program. I commend them for their achievements and for building their upper body strength.

The 100 pushup challenge isn’t the topic of today’s post. (Btw, I can do about 50 as of this post.)

But it reminded me of my foolishness in sixth grade. I was a silly little schoolgirl with a big whollop of pride. You could say I was cocky about my athleticism and I’ve been humbled since then.

In sixth grade, I moved to a new school and had a homeroom teacher who was the male school nurse. At the time, I was pretty lanky for my size and the only exercise I got on a regular basis aside from PE and recess was ballet twice a week. At this new school, when you did well on a exam or did extra credit, you could rack up these “points” to trade for school paraphernalia. To me, it wasn’t about how many points I could get, but it was the fact that it was relatively easy for me to get these points that I built up a bit of pride and ego.

My homeroom teacher made up these ridiculous physical challenges for us because he didn’t think that anyone would attempt them. He set up the 100 pushup challenge for 50 points. Several people including myself were successful in this endeavor and my teacher thought up a more difficult challenge later on. He decided that for 100 points, someone had to go back and forth on the monkey bars 100 times (50 each way). Everyone would play on the monkey bars…you know, the ones that look like a ladder placed horizontally. Nobody dared to attempt that challenge because it’s tiring carrying your weight across the bars. But, I was talking to him during recess and told him that I could do that challenge.

He was really skeptical and told me that I could try, but to be careful. I got up on those bars and started moving. Recess ended and my other classmates were waiting around wondering why we weren’t heading inside to start class. They eventually understood what I was doing, some were cheering me on and others were telling me to quit.

About 2/3 of the way through, I felt a blister pop in my right hand. But I pressed on because everyone was watching me and my pride wouldn’t let me quit. After the final lap and I got off the bars…I walked up to my teacher and told him I did it. I asked him about my points and he asked to check my hands.

I closed my fists and told him that I was fine, but he didn’t believe me. When he opened my hands, I had two blisters my left hand, one peeled off and one was halfway gone. On my right hand, two blisters popped and I was getting another blister inside one of the popped blisters. He quickly took me to the sink to wash my hands and bandaged them. He chided me about the damage I did to my hands, but I wasn’t really paying attention, I was basking in the feeling of completing such a challenge. I couldn’t carry anything as I had two bandaged and throbbing hands, so my friends helped me. And since I think my teacher felt guilty for enabling me, he didn’t give me homework until my hands were healed.

When I got home, my parents were upset that I would even attempt to do such a thing much less get blisters on both hands because of it. Still, all I could think of was the fact that I completed something that was difficult and sure, I was in pain, but I had my achievement and my pride.

It was a very foolish thing to do and if I was offered the same challenge on the monkey bars again, I don’t think I would attempt it. Still, this story is a good reminder for me not to push so hard…and to know my limits without having to reach my limits.

I don’t have to “bring it” to the point where I pull a muscle, dislocate a joint, or cause lasting  injury to my body. Yes, it’s good to push yourself and try harder, but it must be balanced with the knowledge of what your body can handle. Finishing a workout drenched in sweat and feeling tired is good…but finishing one and throwing up after because of the workout…not good. It’s just something to think about when you’re attempting something “extreme.”


4 Responses

  1. Great story. Thanks for sharing.

    I agree with your last statement “it must be balanced with the knowledge of what your body can handle.”

    The whole “pride before a fall” thing comes to my mind. I am doing the 100pushup workout, but would never sacrifice health for a number. Especially when there are so many people that are stronger and faster and can already do 100 pushups.

    Not many people will be impressed by how many pushups I can or can’t do. And they will be less impressed if I injure myself trying to prove nothing. Why push to the point of hurting myself for something most people will know nothing about? Or if they do find out, will forget sortly afterwards.

    There is a great freedom in just doing exercise for my health and for my enjoyment. Since I have been doing P90X and changed my diet, I have a ton of energy. The added exercise of pushups in the evenings a couple times a week is just enough.

    I’m not able to pull the doubles like yourself, but I can do a little extra. 🙂 I know my body and my limits.

    • Thanks for stopping by. It is true that exercise should be done for one’s own health and pleasure. It doesn’t mean much if you’re hurting yourself to get “results” that will not be long-lasting. It’s great that you’re doing well with P90X! =)

  2. Thanks for visiting. I really liked this story, and I’m a little jealous. I was never able to do 100 pushups when I was little, let alone 10 or 50. I need to build up to this.

    • Thanks for stopping by! It always takes time and practice to build up your upper body strength. Even now, I know I can’t do 100 right away, but as long as I work at it…it gets easier.

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