Sadly, my memories of this one just prove how pathetic I was in middle school. I probably hated gym at least as much as Mallory, especially when it came to volleyball. Of course, it shouldn’t be that surprising that someone who is writing a BSC Blog as an adult isn’t really an athletic type.
However, I do remember being annoyed at Mal, because she thought it was a big deal to go to gym twice a week. I had it every day from 6th grade through 12th grade. And it was always co-ed. But, I think I probably would have hated it just as much if it was all girls.
Mallory’s gym class starts a unit in volleyball, which they are doing with the boy’s class. This freaks Mallory out to no end because (a) she hates volleyball and totally sucks at it, and (b) she is afraid of boys, thinks they are obnoxious, and so competitive it is hard to play with them. Anyway, the other team figures out immediately that Mal sucks, so they start constantly serving the ball to her and heckling her. Her gym teacher is not really any help, because she just stands there shouting at Mal to “get moving.”
So, Mallory does what any mature baby-sitter would do. She refuses to play. She just benches herself and sits on the sidelines every day. Her teacher gives her detention every day that she does this, but that doesn’t convince her to change her mind. She even steals the notes from the school saying she got detention, so her parents don’t see them. Eventually though, her mom sees one of the notes and convinces Mal to give volleyball another chance. Mal talks to her teacher, who agrees to ask the guys to lay off Mal. Then, as soon as she gets used to playing, they switch to archery. Amazingly enough, Mal is an idiot savant at this, and manages to get a bulls eye her first day. So, then she tries out (and makes) the archery team.
Subplot: The BSC has been having some trouble with normally nice kids acting up. Mallory points out it is all boys, and comes up with a theory that gym classes are the cause of male obnoxiousness. The other sitters tell her she is full of crap, but she sticks to her guns. However, she does still like Ben, and thinks his brothers are nice. So, she amends her theory that it is only Stoneybrook gym classes that make boys annoying (in Australia, they only have gym once a week). Ben tells her that his brothers can be annoying too, and the two work out a “brother swap.” Of course, the Hobart boys act like brats at the Pikes and the triplets and Nicky are on their best behavior at the Hobarts. I am thinking this says more about parenting styles then anything else. But it does get Mal to calm down a little by the end.
- Poor Byron Pike. He is always labeled as the “more sensitive triplet” or the “least athletic triplet.” I’m not saying it is bad to be sensitive, but it comes off that way in the books.
- Mallory actually acknowledges that Kristy’s family is the same size as hers. Of course, she claims Kristy has it better because her family can spread out to a mansion.
- “Claudia was wearing a pair of soft, balloony, purple pants; a neon green long-sleeved leotard top; a wide red braided belt; and a pair of soft, red, ballet shoes. Her hair was swept into a French braid with wispy tendrils hanging loose. From one ear, dangled a long earring made up of small paper mache tropical fruit. In the other ear, where she had two holes, Claudia wore two small paper mache hoops.” Since when is paper mache jewelry cool?
- Dawn’s “California Casual” Outfit: “Black stirrup pants, a long, fleecy red-and-pink rose-print top, and black high top sneakers.”
- Mallory wears a one-piece denim jumpsuit to school, just so she can get in and out of the locker room quickly. It sounds like something a baby would wear. Although, it doesn’t top this one in that regard.
- Mal totally freaks out and yells at he gym teacher. The ball hits her in the face, and when the teacher blames it on Mal’s daydreaming, Mal flips out and yells, “Why don’t you try getting hit in the face with a ball!” That time, the teacher actually benches her as “punishment.” Which of course gives her the idea to do it herself.
- Ben Hobart says how he doesn’t like playing volleyball with the girls, because he is worried about stepping on them. And Mal likes this thinking. I guess she is a fan of sexism.
- Apparently, Logan has to read the BSC notebook too (he mentions doing so, anyway). It doesn’t really seem fair that he and Shannon have to read it when they don’t really sit that often.
- Mal’s teacher makes her wash pinnies. (I am guessing those are the ugly things I sometimes had to wear in gym class to suggest teams). That is pretty gross.
- The book says how Kristy likes spending time with Karen and Andrew when they are at the “big house.” That is admirable, but it would be nice if Watson felt the same way and didn’t always plan to go out those weekends. Not that I blame him.
- Stacey points out to Mal that when measuring statistics (such as how many boys are annoying), you have to look at all the boys in a sample, and not just the ones that are annoying. The other girls all look at her like she has two heads for being such a “math genius” that understands this.
- Mal is surprised that the Hobarts act all crazy at her house. But, she sets them loose, tells them they can pick who sleeps on the top bunks, then leaves them unsupervised with her sisters. So, of course, they go crazy. Also, her parents don’t really do anything about this – I think they are trying to teach her a lesson about the grass always being greener or something.
- Mal asks for extra help in gym, and her teacher says no, but she does say she’ll talk to the most annoying guys about laying off her. But really, all the guys do is serve it to her to try and win. And the guys on her team yell at her when she misses. But they don’t really say anything that bad about her personally.
- What the hell middle school has not only an archery unit it gym class, but a fucking archery team. Seriously!
- Awe, Mal’s brothers make her a cake when she makes the team. She calls it silly, but is flattered enough to stop hating the entire gender.