HOME SCHOOL FITNESS


This morning I awoke reciting the quadratic equation. People who got too close to the business end of a test tube in a university chemistry lab will recall using it over and over again. I’d like to show off by scribing it here, but modesty . . . What the heck. It looks like this:

-b +/- (b2 – 4ac)1/2 (2a)-1

Not bad, eh? That little formula will tell you anything you want to know. All you have to do is program it into your calculator and you can see into the future. I learned it because I had an eccentric math teacher in the eighth grade.

It wasn’t the love of teaching that made Bob Terwilliger a great teacher. It was his flair for throwing tantrums. At the slightest indiscretion, such as calling him Bob rather than Mr. Terwilliger, he would go off the deep end. His face turned purple and both his leopard-skin bow tie and his temporal artery would bob and throb in the rhythm of his uncontrolled bellowing.

I felt sorry for him. Even then, in the days before Valium and Prozac, I knew the negative consequences of unbridled rage. “Calm down, Bob, for Pete’s sake.” I said once while massaging Becky Wheeler’s feet in the sink at the back of the classroom. “You’re going to blow a gasket if you’re not careful.”

“You did it again, Broderick, you wanton trollop.” he bellowed. “I told you never to call me by my first name. Now I’m going to crucify you.” When I heard this the second time, it was the next day, and I wasn’t even in the class. I already escaped crucifixion and was on the soccer field during gym class. The uproar was the result of sound waves returning to their source after circumnavigating the globe.

Bob taught us the quadratic equation, and we learned out of fear. He had another Grade Eight class on the other side of the building. We reasoned that if he threw two tantrums in two classes, the sound wages might meet on the soccer field the next day with devastating results. We all heard about chain reactions resulting from nuclear explosions. We thought old man Terwilliger’ sound waves, if they met out-of-phase, would cause an earthquake. Fortunately, the waves were always in phase.

Many students are missing their chance to learn formulae and important derivations like the quadratic equation They learn at home from their parents. It’s called Home Schooling. Neither of my parents would have known the quadratic equation from their elbows. My mother would have shown me an exercise she learned from Jack Lalane on Channel 4. My father the tug boat captain, would have shown me the Turk’s head knot (or a hangman’s noose if I got out of hand.) People schooled at home would go through life not knowing there are people with such raw talent as Bob Terwilliger in captivity.

The same problem exists in fitness. People, caught up in the hubbub of life stick in a video and watch and listen as Billy Blank and Jane Fonda put them through their paces. Soon, everyone will be walking around in public with yellow gloves (Billy Blank’s Tai-Bo trademark) and talking in Jane’s nasal twang.

Real life instructors are better than home school fitness videos. They change their classes more often than you can change videos. They can pack more into their individual classes as they answer the needs of the participants. You can talk to an instructor. You can’t talk to a tape. I’ll prove it. Turn off that video and come to one of my classes. I just stole a couple of moves of the Billy’s second tape I know you’re going to like. I call it the ‘Quadratic Equation’ move.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

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2 Responses to “HOME SCHOOL FITNESS”

  1. Sharon Says:

    So funny, Mike. Was the teacher’s name really Terwilliger? Sounds like something from a DC comic. Oh, you brought back memories.

  2. Jody Worsham Says:

    Ah, I talk to my DVD all the time; sometimes it talks back. But live is always more fun than tape.

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