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The FitnessGram Pacer Test

One of the greatest things about the Internet is that it allows us to connect to those who had similar childhood experiences as we did, reveling in memories that we maybe even forgot we had. The death of your first Tomigotchi, the catch phrases that all moms seemed to share (“Don’t touch nothing. Don’t ask for nothing.”). One thing that has recently surfaced as a series of Vine remix videos is a reminder of the FitnessGram Pacer Test.

Created in 1982, this test was used in gym classes across America as a way to measure student’s cardio abilities. The official text, which is used to humorous effect in the videos, goes like this:

“The FitnessGram Pacer Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20-meter pacer test will begin in 30 seconds. Line up at the start. The running speed starts slowly, but gets faster each minute after you hear this signal. [beep] A single lap should be completed each time you hear this sound. [ding] Remember to run in a straight line, and run as long as possible. The second time you fail to complete a lap before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start.”

The monotone voice of the announcer was the source of absolutely no motivation for anyone growing up, and now we can remember those moments, lined up against the gym wall, with a hilarious collections of Vines. Uploaded videos include images from movies and cartoons, placing the monotonous voice-over in situations like the naming of Primrose in Hunger Games and scenes from cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants. Creative Vine users have also created their own funny videos, such as Peter Bianchi’s “Letter of Rejection” Vine, where his college rejection letter wasn’t quite what he was expecting; BorisD’s Vine that shows elderly businessmen racing to get to a plane on time, the adult version of the FitnessGram Pacer Test if there ever was one.

The meme appears to have started in January, which featured the voice-over playing over scenes from a bus crash, which had over 40,000 loops. While that Vine may have been the start, the later versions really threw this meme into the spotlight. Viners Brandon Bowen and HowiEazy started the comedy sketch craze with this meme, and since then, it’s taken off.

The official test that belongs to the voice over is used not only in elementary schools, but also as a way to test the abilities of athletes in the sports of football, hockey, tennis, and rugby. Many international teams use this test as a base line for establishing fitness standards. The test was modified in 1988, and later in 2003, to include more information about each exercise that is required. Far from remembering how we did in the test, however, most of us are just having a laugh at that old monotone announcement through the comedy genius found in the Vine community.




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