Monday, December 7, 2009

#59 Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym)


Summary

Mallory's gym class is just about to start a volleyball unit. She's well aware of her lack of talent in all things sports, which makes the idea of volleyball pretty distasteful. To make matters even worse, Mal's class is going to be combining with a boys' gym class. Mallory is sure she'll end up humiliated, and...that's kind of what happens. She gets stepped on, yelled at, made fun of, and when the other team realizes that she's the weak link, they serve the ball to her every single time (and that's just the first class...). The next time that Mallory has gym, things are even worse. The teacher, Ms. Walden, keeps picking on her and correcting her game in front of the whole class, and she gets hit in the face with a volleyball. That's when Mal kind of loses it; she calls the guy who hit her an idiot, and yells at Ms. Walden for scolding her. Ms. Walden benches Mal for the rest of the class. Not the worst punishment for someone who hates volleyball, but whatever.

Mal gets to thinking, and she realizes that if she keeps getting herself benched, she'll never again have to embarrass herself by playing volleyball. So, the next time gym class rolls around, Mal benches herself. It gets her detention, but she doesn't care. The same thing happens again during the next class, and Mal kind of has to scramble to get the detention notices out of the mailbox. She's even forced to wash the nasty, sweaty pinnies that they have to wear during class, but that doesn't "inspire" her to go back to playing. Eventually, Mal doesn't make it to the mailbox in time to get one of her detention notices, and her mom finds it. There's no yelling or anything, but Mrs. Pike does make it clear that she doesn't want to see another one of the letters, ever again. When Mal goes to her next gym class, Ms. Walden offers her a deal. If Mallory tries her hardest to play, she'll ask the boys' gym teacher to talk to them about going a little easier on her. Mallory survives the rest of the volleyball unit, but is pretty happy when it's all over. They move on to archery, and Mal ends up being a natural at it. Ms. Walden encourages her to try out for the school team, and Mallory is one of the ten students who make it.

That takes care of the gym part of things: let's move onto boys, shall we? The BSC has been having a lot of trouble with some of their male charges. The girls are behaving well, but not the boys. Mallory is the first to notice it, and at first, the other members think she's crazy. Then, they realize that she might be onto something. Mallory even gets Ben to agree to switch brothers with her for the night, since she thinks the Hobarts are wonderful compared to the Pikes. She gets a big surprise when James, Mathew, and Johnny ends up being kind of difficult, but her own brothers give the Hobarts no trouble at all.

Rating: 3

Thoughts and Things
  • Volleyball seems to be the universally traumatizing P.E. sport. My experiences with it were just as bad as Mal's, if not worse, and I know I'm not the only one. It's probably a good thing that I hadn't read this book back then; I would totally have pulled a Mallory and benched myself.
  • Ms. Walden was being a little dramatic when she told Mallory that quitting at volleyball would make her a quitter for life. Seriously....I highly doubt that would happen.
  • Normally, I can figure out who ghostwrote a book within the first few pages, but I never would have pegged this one as a Suzanne Weyn book. She tends to write in a more introspective, feminine style, and her plots involve more thinking and feeling than acting and doing. She tends to write Mary Anne very well. This book, though, has a lot more attitude than I'd expect from her, and a lot more boldness.
  • I got two bulls' eyes in archery at summer camp once. :)
  • Is it really common to have separate boys' and girls' gym classes? Mine were always mixed, from elementary school up through high school.

16 comments:

  1. From Junior High (grade 7) until grade 12 gym classes where I am from are split into boys and girls. (I'm in Alberta) Once and awhile we'd do stuff together (dance unit, the rainy day all stuck inside and play soccer baseball, big field trips for wall climbing) but for the most part no co-ed gym.

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    1. Same here. Grade 7 through 12 boys and girls have separate PE lessons covering different sports and with different teachers. We were only together for Dance, and sitting volleyball. All the sporty girls think it's the most sexist thing in the world, and to be honest, I was pretty hacked off too.

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  2. Yep, my gym classes were always boys and girls together. Also, I hated gym and volleyball was the WORST. In fact, I did get purposely benched and am thinking AMM found her way in to my head to write about it....

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  3. I myself despised pool class in 9th grade- and yes it was mixed!! UGH!!!! HATED IT!! Still hate to swim today!!! I will say that in middle school they seperated the boys and girls in gym but I still hated it as the girls in my gym classes were utter bitches.

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  4. I never understood why anyone would want to play a sport where balls fly at their face. (There goes my social life!)

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  5. Worst for me was baseball. I asked the teacher before we started if I could be a designated runner, since I used to strike out in tee-ball. He thought he was doing me a favor by letting me try to hit the ball. I think I had more than 20 strikes when realized that I really, really didn't want to be trying. Another girl, much better at hitting, had a sprained ankle anyway (and my tricep was sore from pole vaulting in track and field) so it worked out.

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  6. Oh, I'm SO glad we didn't have a swimming unit in any of my P.E. classes. I never took lessons as a kid, and having to try and swim in front of a whole bunch of classmates when I wasn't cool to begin with would have been awful!

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  7. I like the Suzanne Weyn/Stacey books. She has this kind of formal style of writing, like Nola Thacker, but I find her much more entertaining than NT.

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  8. this really was a good mallory book, simply because i sympathized with mallory on this one.

    i remember how horrible my 6th grade year was, especially in gym. i would play as worse as mallory on volleyball, and everyone would always target me when it comes to that.

    my 6th grade year sucked. period.

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  9. We had co-ed gym until high school where we were split up by gender. I went to Seperate (Catholic) school in Ontario.
    One thing I do like about volleyball though - no running : )

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  10. hey, last summer i got 2 bull's eyes at camp:)

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  11. Mine were mixed from Prep to grade 9 then they seperated us for grade 10, and thank god HPE wasn't compulsery for grade 11 or 12. :D I Hated HPE with a passion although i was always pretty good with Volleyball and i enjoyed it.

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    1. I spent an entire 6 months in grade 10 trying my hardest to bench myself, so i spent more time in the detention room then in the sports hall... Good times :)

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  12. volleyball is awesome I play club w people 3 years older than me and im only 10

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  13. I am in 6th grade, and my gym classes are seperated

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  14. I have Dyspraxia so apart from the Dance unit we did at Christmas every year I SU-diddly-UCKED at PE. Also, here in the UK (or at least in the craptacular school I went to) we don't do Archery for PE I have done it though on a week long field trip with the primary school I went to. I loved it and I was quite good at it despite the Dyspraxia. Our classes at high school were separated except for during the dance unit.

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