More than a Game
All term, we have been selecting topics for this column that we hope appealed to casual sports lovers, sports fanatics and people who only witness sports as they flip through television channels. While professional sports and varsity athletics take the spotlight most of the time, this article goes out to all the gym rats out there.
Thursday, Nov. 14, 4:15 PM: With the cold weather descending upon Hanover again, the gym becomes more packed than usual. Tearing our sweatpants off and struggling to find an empty cubby, we strategically box people out to buzz into Zimmerman Fitness Center. It is our lucky day because there are two treadmills without “out of order” signs. We snag them and settle in for our anthropological study. Headphones off and eyes peeled, we are ready.
4:20 PM: Streams of people continue to flood through the gates, armed with textbooks and flashcards, making a beeline for the stationary bikes. With only the force of gravity making their legs turn the pedals, they nonetheless occupy some of the most facetimey spaces in the gym.
4:23 PM: Are we on South Beach? We’ve never seen so many cut-off shirts. Guys with bulging muscles just seem to strut back and forth from one side of the gym to the other, in their own world. The dramatic clanking of weights and the obvious strain of the iPod arm bands around their biceps assures us that they must really be doing more here than just meandering.
4:26 PM : At this point, from our angle, we should be shooting a Lululemon commercial. All of the ellipticals are occupied by a pair of black cropped yoga pants, a neon razor back tank and a headband all sporting the Lulu logo. With televisions tuned in to the Food Network and QVC, these girls are ready for their daily 30-minute cardio routine.
4:30 PM: While we didn’t bring any flashcards for our own studying, we’re ready for a test on the Greek alphabet and any words that rhyme with Phi, Delta and Gamma, based on the variety of sorority tanks and tees that walk by us.
4:38 PM: Nearing the end of our workout, the old man on the treadmill next to us is showing no signs of slowing down. He may be wearing khaki shorts and a polo and some nice white New Balance kicks, but he is just as much of a regular as any of the rest of us.
4:45 PM: 30 minutes of cardio done; time for eight-minute abs. We come back to clean our machines and there are already three people waiting for them. Not our problem. We wipe down the handles and let them duke it out, walking away hearing a chorus of insincere “Oh no, you go ahead” and “Go for it, it’s all yours, you were here first.” We all know that afternoon gym-goers are fierce. Time is of the essence when you’ve got to be at Foco for your 6 p.m. dinner date, so we know how they feel.
4:47 PM: We walk past last term’s professor, making eye contact and starting to wave, but catching ourselves before our hand reaches above our hip for a full on greeting. What is it about seeing him in running shorts from the ’70s that keeps us from being friendly?
4:53 PM: Feeling good about ourselves and able to check off one thing on our agenda, we stack our mats and check in on all of our gym friends before we leave. The bikers are still pedaling away, unclear whether they got a workout or made any progress on their studying in the last 33 minutes. Our South Beach wannabes have finished pumping iron and are shaking their Muscle Milk filled blender bottles. As we walk past the ellipticals, the trendy girls are typing away on their iPhones — they won’t miss a day of working out but also can’t leave a new text unread. Clearly the fight over the treadmills was resolved as the victors are well into their runs.
Bye friends. Tomorrow, same time, same place? See you there!