Yesterday we looked at what WWII shoe rationing did to gym classes at the Alton School District. That was 1943.
How about we take a look at some insanity from 1982?
The story was in a Hutchinson, Kansas newspaper. But it looked at the controversy in Liberal, Kansas.
And the controversy?
Doing gymnastics barefooted! No, not gym class, but gymnastics!
Dispute develops over shoes
LIBERAL — A Liberal health official says he is in “sole support of shoes” for elementary students who have been running footloose and fancy-free barefooted in a gymnastics class.
Fred Mueller, coordinator of physical education for the seven elementary schools in Liberal, said he isn’t sure whether parent’s complaints about their children’s shoeless activities are justified.
The district superintendent, Roy Hartman, says the issue of whether or not students should be required to wear shoes during the class, “is not an issue at all!”
Jim Habersat, a member of the city-county health board, said he had received a number of complaints from parents because their children weren’t wearing shoes during gymnastics. After investigating the matter, he said it was the board’s opinion that the children’s feet “should be supported.”
Where did they dig up this moron, and however did he get to sit on the city-county health board? The school officials, however, seem to mostly know what they are talking about.
And it looks like there are some parents there who need to be educated, not just their kids.
But the article goes on, and it doesn’t get any better.
Habersat said parents’ main concern was children running around on a cold tile floor. His main concern, he said, is that the children’s feet could be injured without the support of shoes.
Really? The floor was cold? That’s your concern?
According to Mueller, the students have been going barefoot during the gymnastics class since the physical education program began three years ago.
“We think the students should be wearing shoes to support their feet,” Habersat said. “The school district makes the junior high and high school require shoes during such classes, but the elementary schools don’t have such a policy. Without shoes, children are liable to injure themselves.”
That’s right. We need to make sure that the kids’ feet don’t actually get any exercise and don’t get strong. And we certainly wouldn’t want them to get any feedback from their soles while doing gymnastics.
Mueller said he and the three other elementary physical education instructors requested students to go barefoot. They have always had the option of purchasing the special “gymnastic shoe,” he said.
Mueller said the gymnastic shoe is like a ballet slipper and has a non-slip sole. The thing that concerns him, he said, is that the shoes cost anywhere from $5.50 to $30.
“It’s only a seven-week class and I’m not sure parents would want to spend money on a pair of shoes used for that short period of time,” Mueller said. “The authorities I’ve contacted say that shoes should be required, but they also say that going barefoot is the next best thing to wearing the shoes.”
Hartman said his only concern was for the safety of the children.
Obviously, his concern for the safety of the children doesn’t extend to actually knowing what he is talking about.
This is gymnastics!
“What I’ve gathered from the information made available to us iii that students can either wear or go without shoes,” he said. “My main concern is the safety of the children.”
Meanwhile there are between 1,300 and 1,500 Liberal elementary school students running around with bare feet on a gymnasium floor during a tumbling class.
Well, hurray. Somehow these 1,300 to 1,500 children are managing to have fun and they’re managing to avoid injury. Maybe the foot fairy sprinkled them with magic safety dust.
Maybe somebody should have told them (ok, yeah, you’d need a time machine, but I’m sure things were no different in 1982) about the Florida Gators just winning the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships. Here’s Bridget Sloan, who won the All-Around competition:
[Photo from here.]
Somebody put some shoes on her before she injures herself!
The Hutchinson newspaper also included a story from the Hutchinson point of view. You get the feeling they are laughing at their “Liberal” friends.
Most Hutch gymnasts don’t wear shoes
Nearly all students participating m gymnastics classes in Hutchinson go barefoot, or wear socks or leotards, according to several teachers polled today.
Mary Bruce, a gymnastics and aerobics teacher for the Hutchinson Recreation Commission, said, “Most kids take off their shoes to do gymnastics. Some wear leotards in the winter to keep their feet warm, and a few even wear ballet shoes, but most go barefoot.
“It gives them a better feel of the equipment they are working on, such as the balance beam and others. Shoes have a slick surface and kids often slide on them, and rubber-soles shoes sometimes catch on the equipment, so we don’t usually recommend them,” she said.
Yes. Hurray for Mary Bruce. Bare feet give you a better feel for the equipment you are working on. And rubber soles stick on the equipment.
Continuing . . .
Mrs. Bruce teaches gymnastics and body-building for children ages 3, 4 and 5 and aerobics to adults.
“But if I taught gymnastics to adults, I’d tell them to go barefoot,” she said. She said no parents had complained about their children going barefoot in the classes.
Barefoot is best. And no parents complained. Imagine that.
But it’s not all fun and games. Of course they had to interview somebody who had to make up something.
Ann Heider, a physical education teacher at Hutchinson’s Middle School, said gymnastics is taught during four-week units several times during the year.
“For sanitary reasons, we have the kids take off their shoes and take gymnastics in their stocking-feet, instead of going barefoot,” she said. “Since we have so many kids taking the classes, we must protect them if some kids have foot diseases.”
Uh, hello? I guess she doesn’t realize that athlete’s foot spores easily fit between the fibers that make up socks? They can get caught between the fibers, and then you are very carefully putting those spores into the warm, dark, moist environment of a shoe for enhanced incubation.
Good job, Ms. Heider.
She said in years past, students have gone barefoot during the classes. However, she said the best investment is a pair of gymnastics shoes, which she admits may be too costly for some families.
“When I was in college, many gymnasts went barefoot because when they wear socks, they can slip and fall when they are doing routines with runs,” she said. “So, it sure isn’t strange to go barefoot.”
Oh, good. Some sense.
Bill Carroll of the YMCA said most youngsters taking gymnastics classes there wear leotards, or socks. “Occasionally some go barefoot, but that is usually only when they use the balance beam,” he said.
All I can say is that paranoia runs deep.