I just spent an hour and 20 minutes  of the first day of the Lunar New Year teaching a step class at Kerrisdale Community Centre with a sore knee. Today is the first day of the year of the snake, and according to the radio news broadcasts I heard on the way to my class, people don’t like snakes.

I like snakes.

In North American Prehistory, the natives of the South East found the corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) to he an important part of their farming ecology. They cultivated a plant community called the three sisters: beans corn and squash. Eating the fruits of these plants gave you all the nutrients you deeded, and they grew well together.

If the people got all they needed, so did the rats and mice. Luckily for the people, the corn snake would keep the rodents away at a rate of one every couple of days per snake. Rather than argue that people then engaged in snake husbandry and actually bred them for the field or the table, I would say that the importance of snakes in insuring the success of their crops meant that they were at least tolerated and not killed on sight.

Modern North Americans would either kill them or keep them as pets. We keep them as pets. I’d love to have a couple of big fat corn snakes in my attic, but the Society for the Prevention  of Cruelty to Animals would revoke bi pet-keeping license as it’s too cold in my attic for snakes. But not for rats.

That’s how I ended up with a sore knee. I was baiting some rat traps in my attic when I stumbled over a joist in the dark and twisted my knee.

“I know hoy you did it,” said Dr. Nickernackers.  You planted four foot on the joist, then twisted hour leg as you fell.”

“I suppose so,” I said. He gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammitant and said I should be better in a day or two.

That was Wednesday, and I decided I would be better for my class. I wasn’t, but rather than  find a sub, I decided to teach it. Here’s how you teach a class with an injury.

  1. 1.         Tell them you’re injured.

This can be framed as an apology it you feel more comfortable, but that’s not for me. I tell them I will do some of the class, then wander around the class to make sure everyone is in enough pain. Framing it as an apology is asking for sympathy. You don’t want sympathy, you want everyone to have a good time. They  paid you for a rigorous workout, so make sure they get it.

2.         Do some of your routine on the floor.

If you have a good routine, anything that can be done on the step can be done on the floor. Also, since you’re hurt, take the opportunity to do the routine on the floor in different positions – such as right in front of individual participants. Joke with them. Ask them whether they’re warmed up yet. Show different was of doing the same thing.

3.   Put the front row to work.

Class members who gravitate towards the front row do it for a reason. They, like me.  want to be the center of attention. Give it to them. Let them demonstrate some of the moves. You’ll find they consider this as a reward for their loyalty.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there “aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look like.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.




  1. Sharon Says:

    My Hero!!
    You are sooooo braaaave!!
    So funny. Keep up the good work – and keep that knee wrapped as long as necessary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: