Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools

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Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 127,843         Comments: 616

Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
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Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

616 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Rob on 26th June 2019  

John, I am in agreement with you and others about compulsory showers.After our first PE lesson aged 11 I would have done anything to avoid going nude in the showers with a lot of of other boys but I had no choice but quickly realised there was actually nothing wrong with being naked in the showers. There was no way that I felt I was being abused and after being made to sweat in the gym, where I enjoyed having to wear just gym shorts and plimsolls, I looked forward to the showers and being able to freshen up before going on to our next lesson rather than get dressed again and sit around smelling of stale sweat.

Comments by John on 22nd June 2019  

William,
Well said, I completely agree with you. Like you I was made to shower naked with a group of lads after playing sports and given a choice aged 11 would have opted to avoid them. There was actually nothing wrong with showering nude with other lads and it helped me to get over my totally irrational fear of being naked with other lads. In no way was I abused, in life fears are best confronted and not avoided.

Comments by William on 20th June 2019  

Bernard and Roy, I agree with you. To describe compulsory showers as abuse trivialises child abuse, and having to do something you would rather avoid has advantages. Aged 11 I would rather not have had nude showers with a lot of other boys. Luckily we had no choice. I quickly got used to it, became less shy about my skinny body and didn't mind stripping for gym, swimming or showering. By having to do things I thought would be difficult I found I could cope with more than I thought - a good lesson for life.

Comments by Bernard on 18th June 2019  

Philip,

Roy is, of course, quite right - showers have nothing to do with child abuse. I'm sure we all had to do things we didn't enjoy at school but not liking something does not make it abuse.

Comments by Roy on 4th June 2019  

Showering after PE and games is a matter of personal hygiene and has nothing to do with child abuse.

Comments by Philip on 3rd June 2019  

30 years ago the nightmare of compulsory physical education ended for me. It is time we ended forced showers in school. I can't believe with the passing of the Children Act in 1989 some schools still mandate this state sponsored child abuse.

A modern day example is shown below

marshfields

At-shirt appropriate to your child's "house", which is available from the office, priced £4.00

Plain black shorts

White P.E. socks

Trainers/plimsolls

Swimming trunks/costume

A towel and a change of socks are required for every P.E. lesson

A P.E. bag is available from the school office, priced £2.50

All students are expected to shower are a P.E. or games lesson.

Comments by Arby on 23rd April 2019  

Good for you Dave. So do I still wear one under shorts.

Comments by Dave on 22nd April 2019  

Hi all, when I was at school we also had the no underwear under shorts rule which was enforced until the middle school aged 15/16 after which we could wear something,most of us started to ether use snug briefs, swimming trunks or a jockstrap for support, I started off with trunks but quickly moved on to a jock initially for cross country running but then for all sports and activities.
I continued to wear one at school then college and still wear them now under shorts.

Comments by Arby on 20th April 2019  

When we boys entered the 6th form we were advised to starting wearing a jockstrap. A few of us went together to buy one at the local sports shop. We felt really grown up and "manly". We continued to wear them at all sports even after leaving school.

I agree with Chris that they are great to wear under shorts in hot weather. Much better that sweaty briefs. In fact I have just bought 2 on line to wear this summer. I may be old fashioned but hopefully will be comfortable.

Comments by June on 20th April 2019  

Chris G
Yes, my husband will only wear a jockstrap for running and tennis ... nothing else does the job ... to paraphrase him :=)

Comments by Chris G on 19th April 2019  

June, funny you should mention tennis, as my first experience of wearing a jockstrap for more than a couple oh hours was when we had an all-day tennis tournament at school. Much more comfortable than clingy sweaty cotton briefs on a hot summer afternoon!

Comments by Julian B on 19th April 2019  

Only to reiterate what June says, and that is that a jockstrap's chief purpose is that of a genital support - l can vouch for that as can many other school boys and men

Comments by June on 19th April 2019  

Hello Andrea
A jockstrap can be used to hold a cup for protection against a kick or a hard ball, but its main purpose was as a very satisfactory genital support used in any sport be it running or tennis ... my boys typically possessed two jockstraps, a standard jockstrap without a cup pouch, and one with cup for games like cricket or field hockey.

Comments by Andrea on 18th April 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

June & Chris G

When he was in the 3rd year at secondary, my Ex and his classmates were told by their PE teacher that wearing a jockstrap would reduce the chances of them 'doing themselves an injury' now they were starting to mature.

However I wouldn't have thought a jockstrap alone would offer much protection against a kick in that area!

Comments by Ross on 16th April 2019  

Alfie, the kit we wore indoors was perfectly fine of course girls were allowed and expected to wear a tee shirt but us boys didn't care. The girls were also barefoot.

Comments by Andrew on 15th April 2019  andrew_bx@yahoo.co.uk 

Ross, although you changed separately from the girls was doing mixed lessons in the kit you describe ok?

Personally, I cant remember anyone mentioning jockstraps to us so we managed without all the same, with just shorts and pumps on. Incidentally, I presume when people say 'pumps' they mean plimsolls?

Was anyone told the reason why underwear was banned?

Comments by Ross on 14th April 2019  

Alfie, middle school was ages 9 to 13 and all PE was in mixed lessons and yes we had separate changing facilities. In reality the rule wasn't enforced and was there for hygiene reasons.

Comments by June on 12th April 2019  

Chris G
You are right in that a good PE master would advise on the dangers of going commando and to wear either supportive underpants or a jockstrap.

Secondly, my boys' classmates wore a jockstrap in preference to briefs, not only for PE but for all games. My understanding is that most men who've worn one see the value of a jockstrap.

Comments by Alfie A on 12th April 2019  

Ross
what age range was the middle school. Was PE a mixed lesson or separate and if mixed did you have separate changing facilities as you had to remove underwear

Comments by John on 12th April 2019  

Chris G,
We switched to topless PE in second year of Junior School, my older brother was already doing topless PE at Senior School which I was aware of. It made the transition to Senior School PE easier by already being used to being stripped to the waist. At Senior School we were not allowed to wear any underwear for PE, only shorts and pumps and it was never suggested that we should purchase a jockstrap. It seems that topless PE was being introduced in many schools when we were at school, Education advisors must have decided that this would be better for boys and I personally agree with them.

Comments by Ross on 11th April 2019  

Jockstraps were never a thing in my school years. Probably quite the opposite and in middle school we were told to remove our underpants. Our indoor kit was white shorts, shirtless and barefoot. Outdoors we were allowed a rugby shirt and boots when required.

Comments by Chris G on 11th April 2019  

We didn't have to go without underwear for PE at secondary school, but most of us did. At some time in my third year there, just after we switched to going topless, one lad got kicked in the "privates" during a rather boisterous team game session, at which point the PE master warned us about the dangers of going commando and advised us to either to wear supportive underpants or a jockstrap. I do'nt think any of us had ever heard of such a garment before, and none of us owned one at that point.

I didn't get one until a few years later, when I moved to another school for my 6th form years, and found that most of my classmates wore them in preference to briefs, not only for PE and games, but also as everyday underwear in hot weather.

Comments by Dan on 10th April 2019  

Andrea - Jockstrap was on our school games kit list.

Rob - Yes we showered naked (how else would you shower!).

Comments by Rob on 9th April 2019  

Dan, same with me; jockstraps were never mentioned at school and certainly not by our PE teachers and we had to continue wearing our shorts with nothing underneath until we left after sixth form. That was the way things were and we just accepted it and got used to it and I'm also sure no-one suffered in any way as a result. After all we were all boys and saw one another completely naked in the showers after each PE lesson. Dan,did you have to shower naked after PE and also take your jockstrap off?

Comments by Andrea on 9th April 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Dan,
Your experience sounds the same as my Ex. He said their PE teacher advised them to purchase a jockstrap at the start of their 3rd year.

Was this how you were told, or did they appear on a uniform list sent home to parents?

Comments by Bernard on 8th April 2019  

Dan - No-one ever mentioned jockstraps at school - I didn't know what one was until some while after I left school. We wore just our shorts with nothing underneath - it was just the way things were and I'm sure no-one suffered as a result.

Comments by Dan on 8th April 2019  

Rob, Alan, Alfie A and others, why didn't you wear a jockstrap?
We were not allowed to wear pants but jockstraps were worn from 3rd form onwards.

Comments by Julian B on 8th April 2019  

June

I can remember the'ritual' of the jockstrap at school. Think overnight each and every boy had bought one ... another stepping stone toward manhood. Gosh how times have changed! Lord knows what ritual modern day kids follow today. But it was fun and simple in our time!

Comments by TimH on 6th April 2019  

I agree with John but I have seen 'somewhere' a comment that making boys do gym shirtless is tantamount to child abuse. I've also come across a remark about a lady who saw two 11 y.o. boys going to school in shorts on a warm day in October and reported the mother to Social Services for 'child neglect'. (I don't agree with either of these commemts, BTW!)

Comments by John on 5th April 2019  

Rob,
‘The tide comes in, the tide goes out’, I think that over time things may change again. Throughout the history of mankind nothing stays static, it may take a long time. I still believe that wearing shirts for gym should be optional for males and not compulsory.

Comments by Rob on 5th April 2019  

I agree that it is much healthier being bare chested while exercising but sadly I can't see any way that PE lessons could return to the way most of us remember. From the start of our first lesson we had to strip off completely and wear just shorts and plimsolls. We never wore anything on top and it felt great being able to sweat freely in the gym and also running around outside and enjoying the fresh air. I felt decidedly hesitant at the end of first lesson about having to go naked into the open communal showers but quickly overcame my inhibitions leading to an increased level in my confidence.

Comments by John on 5th April 2019  

Andrew,
Exercising shirtless is a healthy and natural way for males to exercise. I don’t see why lads cannot be allowed to do Physical Education shirtless if they want to. Having done PE with a shorts and shirts rule and a shorts only rule, I would always choose to be shirtless to exercise.

Comments by Andrew on 4th April 2019  

I found initially going without a top a bit daunting but never thought it was abuse either, but its now presumably unheard of and would be considered abuse today I would imagine- or at least not even contemplated.
Recalling experiences here is one thing but who would dare advocate its return these days, even given its merits?

Comments by Ben on 4th April 2019  

Interesting to read your post Drew C - it sounds like a really positive set-up at your school. Did I misunderstand or were you saying that the girls were actually able to choose which boys played on which teams? How did that work if every boy was bare chested anyway?
Normally at my school when we did the sports you mentioned, the teams were chosen by the teacher and the boys on one team then had to take their tops off. PE sessions weren't always done alongside the girls but they certainly enjoyed the opportunity to see at least some of us bare chested!
I definitely agree it's a good thing for boys to be stripped down for PE as standard - health wise and in terms of building a positive body image. And also no bad thing if girls are watching as it encourages the boys to work harder and stay in good shape!

Comments by John on 4th April 2019  

Drew C,
I experienced barechested physical education lessons too and totally agree with everything that you’ve said. In no way were we abused.

Comments by Drew C on 3rd April 2019  

As a newbie to this I do not recall at any time being mistreated. We were all made to strip down to the waist for PE/Games indoors and outside for cross country and athletics during spring and summer. Punishment was being made to do a fitness test out on the field obviously bare chested regardless of weather or temperature, normally lasting a single lesson so you had to catch up after. Our teachers were fair but expected you to work and give effort regardless of ability, or lack of. Being made to strip at school was definitely a good thing. Girls were always keen to see us bare chested too, picking class teams for basketball, cross country and athletics based on what they could see in the gym or outside. When we were 11 one morning loudly suggested a lad sitting nearby should stop wearing a vest under his school shirt... and he did too.
Being stripped to the waist gives boys a sense of identity and proved a natural way to exercise. We often competed in inter school cross country competitions stripped down. That really narked some other teams but it allowed us to sweat freely and show our chests to others.

Comments by Drew C on 3rd April 2019  

As a newbie to this I do not recall at any time being mistreated. We were all made to strip down to the waist for PE/Games indoors and outside for cross country and athletics during spring and summer. Punishment was being made to do a fitness test out on the field obviously bare chested regardless of weather or temperature, normally lasting a single lesson so you had to catch up after. Our teachers were fair but expected you to work and give effort regardless of ability, or lack of. Being made to strip at school was definitely a good thing. Girls were always keen to see us bare chested too, picking class teams for basketball, cross country and athletics based on what they could see in the gym or outside. When we were 11 one morning loudly suggested a lad sitting nearby should stop wearing a vest under his school shirt... and he did too.
Being stripped to the waist gives boys a sense of identity and proved a natural way to exercise. We often competed in inter school cross country competitions stripped down. That really narked some other teams but it allowed us to sweat freely and show our chests to others.

Comments by TimH on 27th March 2019  

I've not been spending too much time on here recently but like some other people I think some of the punishment stories may be a little inaccurate. Certainly in seven years in a Grammar School in the East Midlands in the early to mid 1960s I cannot recall anything relating to what has been mentioned.

Comments by NickK on 23rd March 2019  

Alan. Our PE kit was listed as vest (with stripe in school colours around the middle), shorts, ankle socks, and white plimolls. And that is what our parents bought when we joined the all boys grammar school age 11. But we quickly discovered that only shorts were allowed in the gym. No tops and barefoot. Pants were definitely not allowed but boys never learn and were quite frequently slippered for keeping them on. In second form we had a different PE master who insisted on the full kit - but by then (age 13) we were bigger and it was a tight fit. Some of the vests bought for us age 11 were more like crop tops! But the hanging from wallbars as a lesser punishment than a slippering continued.

Comments by Roy on 22nd March 2019  

Frank D I agree with you.

Comments by Frank D on 21st March 2019  

I would suggest a lot of these caning stories are wildly inaccurate!!

Comments by Alfie A on 21st March 2019  

Alan
We were not allowed to wear pants under our shorts and often everything was on view when exercising.

Comments by James on 21st March 2019  

Alfie A


It was quite brutal being caned in our shorts without wearing anything underneath and it did leave wheals for a few days,but fortunately they were covered when I wore my short trousers.
Wearing satin or nylon shorts which were fashionable at the time were ultra thin so were it was more painful.

Comments by Alan on 21st March 2019  

Alfie

As we grew up with it, we regarded the risk of a caning in PE as normal.

Basically if you did something "serious" (like push another lad, cheat at a punishment, swear etc) and got caught you were told what was going to happen, then caned at front, usually at the end of the lesson. Some teachers caned more than others, one a lot and usually 4, 5 and 6 strokes. Probably in his lesson there was a caning every 2nd week, and often more than one boy.

To be honest, it was "exciting" to watch classmates line up and get caned - to see them waiting their turn, see the caning and if they cried. Naturally we saw the marks in the showers after.

It hurt of course, it hurt to take off your (usually tight) shorts after, but it was how things were.

Comments by Alfie A on 20th March 2019  

How did we all survive the corporal punishment of our day? Wearing thin white shorts and no pants when getting slippered was bad enough, but to think some teachers caned in pe lessons. It must have left wheals or marks.

Comments by Alan on 20th March 2019  

Nick

The lad caned would have been 14/15, and it was 6 strokes. It was for "not accepting your punishment" I think, thus the caning. It also illustrated clearly to the rest of us, that we had to hang unsupported at all times or face the consequences.

I assume you were shirtless and bare feet for your PE lessons.

Were you allowed pants, because with legs spread all would be on view!

We had to strip underpants off when changing, anyway with everyone stripped to the waist the waistband of the pants would have shown above your shorts.

Comments by NickK on 19th March 2019  

Alan. We too had to hang off the wallbars as a minor form of punishment. One PE master would talk about us needing to "cool our heels" and that always meant a few minutes (like you it couldn't have been more than one or two but felt like an eternity!) hanging from the top wall bar, feet free. A different PE master would always make us stretch our feet wide apart, no support, and hold the position. Anyone not making what he thought was a proper effort to hold the stress position would be slippered instead. Our gym kit was very short white cotton shorts.

How old was the lad who was caned for putting his feet on the rungs?

Comments by John on 19th March 2019  

Chris C,
I grew up in the 1970s and it was common for lads to play football shirtless in the street. Our PE teachers worked us all really hard and we always sweated a lot, there’s no way that my mates and I would have preferred to have been made to wear a t shirt or a vest for PE or cross country. I remain grateful for being made to strip to the waist for PE.

When lads were divided into teams, the PE teacher gave one team coloured bibs in order to distinguish the teams. Football was played wearing shirts, and our school football shirts were reversible with a different colour on the reverse side, so one team had to reverse their shirts. If it was a warm day the PE teacher would often make us play shirts vs skins for football. Being shirtless was normal for us, and no big deal, we enjoyed playing sports shirtless.

Comments by Alan on 19th March 2019  

Did anyone else get made to hang from the wall bars as a punishment in PE ?

Climb up, backs to the wall, hang by your arms, feet free - often 2 or 3 boys, side by side. Usually only a minute or two, but it seemed for ever.

We always wore shorts only, so with bare feet it was easy to see if you tried to support yourself. Once one boy got caught with his feet on the bars, he was called down and caned, straight away in front of the whole class.

Comments by Rob on 18th March 2019  

Andrew R, Surely, the lad realised that he had to take his vest off when he saw that you were all stripped to the waist.I was at an all boys grammar school in the late fifties so I can't recall exactly in our gym sessions when I started sweating, but it wouldn't have been because the gym was too warm. We were always worked hard at whatever activity we were doing and it was practically non-stop.I do remember that when we all had to stop to listen to the PE instuctor we had to sit on the floor with our legs outstretched and support our arms on the floor behind us. At this point the sweat used to trickle down my sides from my armpits and down my back and chest and when I got up again my legs were covered in sweat. I felt great and was very glad that I was stripped to the waist and wearing just gym shorts, looking forward to getting in the showers. You haven't said when you were at your school but I remember feeling reluctant to take my shorts off after the first gym session and then going naked into the open communal showers. If you had to shower, I wonder how your lad with have coped with that.



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