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BOTD 08-15-15 Blast from the Past - 1980: Extra Credit Paddle - Answer as Dad or Lad

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Blast from the Past – 1980: Extra Credit Paddle – Answer as Dad or Lad
A Kat Production

You’re an eighth grader with the infamous Coach Browder for PE. Coach goes through an awful lot of paddles, so he has a standing offer for his students: bring him a paddle and you receive 50 points extra credit. You could use the extra credit, as you’ve forgotten your PE clothes three times, each time incurring a fifteen point penalty on your grade for that day. You’ve also had to run the bleachers the last two times. For the third lapse, you’ve had to take a note home to be signed that informs your parents you’ll be given three ‘licks’ tomorrow, as well as how you’ve lost forty-five points from your grade. Your dad is likely to blister you with his belt when he sees the note, ensuring you’ll take the licks on an already sore backside.

Do you try to make a paddle on your own to cover the points loss, forge a parent’s signature and hope to get away with just the paddling? (You have minimal skills, though you are allowed to use the Skilsaw and any wood left over from projects.) Do you show the note to Dad and take your medicine? Do you ask Dad to help you make a paddle, knowing you’re likely to be its first victim?

YOU - 14 (1980)
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As Dad: Your son has screwed up by not dressing out for PE three times, thus not only earning licks from the PE coach, but also affecting his grade. Since he can make up the points loss by bringing the PE coach a paddle, will you decide to let the school punishment suffice or will you bust his butt yourself first?

As it’s likely he’ll get the licks with the paddle you help him make, what sort of paddle will you design? You have oak (1/2-inch), birch plywood (3/4-inch), pine (1-inch) available. You also have a drill press, a ¾-inch forstner bit and countersink bit if you want to add holes. In determining how severe a paddle you make, keep in mind he’ll be in his thin nylon PE shorts and jockstrap.

Can you dig it?


Stevie does not care if his son gets a bad grade in physical education and would not punish him for it at all...

My carpentry skills are not good, but I will try to help him make the paddle if he wants to do so.

We will probably have a discussion about dropping PE and taking something useful instead...



Editor Extraordinaire
StevieWeeks wrote:We will probably have a discussion about dropping PE and taking something useful instead...Stevie.

Sorry, Stevie, no can do. PE is a required credit under state law. Of course, some classes, such as Athletics, count for PE credit. I doubt you'd find them any more useful, though.



As dad: birch plywood is premium wood, and probably worth making. Maybe use a router or something to round the edges and show your son the methods to use, get his help on it. Put a good coat of varnish on it (no holes needed). Then send him to the coach with it.

You should inspect the results and then maybe wait a day or so for his hiney to recover before going to blistering. He seems sturdy enough. Exclamation


1/2" oak is appropriate for a paddle. 3/4" or 1" ANYTHING is a weapon, especially in the hands of most school coaches, who, because of laws with unintended consequences, tend to swing for the fences since they only get a small and limited number of swats.

If I have the skills, I'll help him make such a paddle, no holes. If it's likely he'll be it's first victim, I'm not going to spank him at home, even in the 60's, let alone the 80's. It's a school issue being dealt with at school. I WILL ask the coach to CALL ME if there is any recurrence of the behavior.

As kid, I'm going to show dad the note (because he'll find out anyway, and it will only be worse if I'm not the one to tell him). I'll ask for dad's help in making the paddle for the coach, and hope dad doesn't whup me too.


I was never any good at carpentry, but maybe Dad can show me how to make a basic paddle with the oak. I'm pretty sure though that when we've finished he is going to want to test it out on my butt even though coach will be swinging on it tomorrow. At least though Dad'll only lick me over my jeans - won't he?


Two notes before I give my reply.

1) I saw this scenario when I posted the other day, and I decided not to use it because I just couldn't come up with an answer.

2) As a former math teacher and gym coach, I think this guy is a real jerk. Today, the real me would be after his job. Things like this were a bit more blase in 1980, though I still don't think I'd be happy with him.

I don't care what my normal policy is. While I have no problem with reinforcing punishment at school, I don't see 'forgetting gym clothes' as something worth what he's getting at school, much less as requiring more. As someone who still has to go back to my bedroom to get the keys when I'm leaving for work, I'd be more worried about helping him find a way to stop forgetting stuff.

Also, while I doubt we have time to make a decent paddle, there don't seem to be any conditions to this offer, so I'll just send that extra Jokari paddle I picked up at a garage sale last weekend. If we have to make one, there's no way I'd use anything listed, especially not if it's going to be used on nothing but gym shorts.

From the kids perspective - at 13/14 I'm young enough to be severely tempted to try forging, but old enough to know the odds aren't good of it working out. If I did decide to try it, I'd probably make a very basic, 18" X 3" (six inch handle) with the 1/2" oak, assuming thinnest would be best.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


Jack wrote:
2) As a former math teacher and gym coach, I think this guy is a real jerk.  Today, the real me would be after his job.  Things like this were a bit more blase in 1980, though I still don't think I'd be happy with him.


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