Thursday, February 28, 2008

All Work and Not Really Play

Last night as I entered the women’s locker room at the gym, I noticed a sign posted on the wall. Scanning it quickly, my mind registered a few words. 6:00 PM, kickboxing and one night only.

In the enclosed workout room where they hold group classes, I noticed considerable busyness with the sound system. I had wanted to try kickboxing, but I have some chest congestion and felt tonight wouldn’t be a good night to try. I went on with my own routine since it was only 5:30 anyway.

When 6:00 rolled around, the music from the room was overpowering the gym. I was a bit annoyed by this since I was at the far end away from the group workout room. At 6:10 I finished with my own cardio, and moved to the free weight section which is closer. A group was standing along the front watching through the windows. I didn’t pay much attention.

While using the free weights, the music was now overpowered my MP3 player. I turned it off and tucked it and the earphones into my pocket. I stayed focused on my own routine, until slowly, I became aware that there was something significant taking place. I dropped what I was doing to stand with the gawkers and watch through the glass.

The wall to ceiling mirrors were steamed over as they are when you get out of the shower. The energy being expended was that great. The windows we watched through were fogged over as well, so that it radiated from the edges inward leaving little peep holes of clear visibility through the center. The tempo of the music, was like that of a locomotive, bearing down on me, keeping the group in rhythm.

The women and men where arranged in a circular fashion, not in the rows I usually witness for regular aerobic class. The leader in the center. She was tall and sinewy, if you can call women sinewy, without an ounce of fat anywhere. Her energy seemed limitless and she pushed the class onward. Their feet going continually, in the rapid foot drills often seen in regular boxing, but taken up a notch or two. Punch punch, kick kick in steady unrelenting succession. Streams, not beads, of sweat streaming down faces and dripping to the floor, their faces red with exertion. I had two thoughts. One: I’m glad I didn’t join this class. Two: I’m sorry I didn’t join this class.

Now my curiosity got the better of me and I started asking questions of the bystanders. “Who is that woman?” The reply, “Sherri! She trains the New England Patriots Cheerleaders!” If I thought cheerleading wasn’t work, I know better now.

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