Guys. Today we’re talking about Mr. Eberst. He died in 2009. This is not exactly a long overdue eulogy because I really didn’t know him that well. He was my elementary school gym teacher from kindergarten – fifth grade. Which, admittedly, might be better than many people know their elementary school gym teacher.
My memories of him are more clear not because of any athletic interest but because when you are six years old, gym class is an entirely new thing that imprints itself on your mind. Back when I used to have a memory.
We would sit in a circle on the basketball lines and Mr. Eberst would walk around in his squishy athletic shoes, and I would wish I had shoes that squished and looked as comfortable as those shoes, which made wonderful squeaking noises on the gym floor. Little girl knockoff Keds from Harts (HARTS!) don’t have the same impact.
One day, or many days, maybe every day of my elementary school life, Mr. Eberst sat us all down on the basketball lines and explained the finer points of Field Day. He described watching people lose races because they would be winning and they would be close to the finish line and slow down, or look behind them. DON’T DO IT, he told us. And at six years old I had no race running experience or desire (this has never changed) and did not have context to understand this, not why people would do it or that people did it, or why they would lose, but it stuck in my head. Because at that time in my life the finer points of Field Day were brand new information and my brain wasn’t full yet, and decided to hold on to all these new pieces of information. Oh to be six.
But Mr. Eberst, I GET IT NOW.
And ALL I WANT TO DO IS SLEEP.