Saturday, January 14, 2006

new gym

Our new gym finally opened today. I’m not really sure how late the opening was, but it was originally scheduled sometime last summer. It seems to have been worth the wait though; and as soon as the New Year’s resolutions begin to resolve, one should be able to actually fit inside the humongous facility.
Today though was an interesting experience. Yesterday, when I left, the person at the counter said, “see you at the new gym tomorrow.” There were only a few people there going through their routine routines. This morning, Al and I went together about 3 hours after they opened. There were hardly any parking spots and the gym was packed with people. Many of the faces and bodies were familiar, but an equal number were new. There were many people I’d never seen before, and many people I knew, but had never seen at the gym. I’d say I’d never seen them at the gym, and they’d say, “It’s our first day.” Nothing like the freshness of a new facility to cause someone to realize how worn out their earthsuit has become.
Although our Gold’s has always felt comfortable and low pressure and casual, there are of course always a few people who are too awesome or hardcore to fraternize or even speak to the casual stay-in-shaper. There are always a very few guys who are afraid their testosterone will leak if they were to speak to another guy. So they maintain silence to preserve the aloof mystery. This was one the first things I vowed when I started going to the gym – that I’d break the barrier with everyone at the gym. I’ve actually done pretty well. Today, though, it was a non-factor.
For a moment in time, everyone was on the same page. The bodybuilders who have been lifting for forever, the aging ex-athletes fighting to cheat middle age a bit longer. The chunky who have realized it will be easier now than later, the overweight who face a painful future reality if they don’t get serious, and the brand new folks who think it might be hip to join a brand new gym. Every single piece of equipment was new and different and placed at strange locations in the gym. Veterans and newbies and to become familiar again. Excitement was thick, so that the chiseled, grimacing, masks of the hardcore builders were smiling and joking and asking questions.
Today was the window when absolutely no one could feel self-conscious about their novice status. It was an interesting atmosphere of freshness, joy, community, equality and sweat.