The School Gym: A Non-Regular’s Perspective


As you may have heard, the University has a big shiny beefed up Athletics and Aquatics center, unveiled in all it’s renovated glory just this year. Whether it’s truly an improvement, I cannot say, as I never had the opportunity to see what stood there before.

That’s not to say that I would be the best witness anyway. It took me two entire weeks after school started before I actually checked the place out. I would blame the fact that it’s at the opposite end of the campus from where I live, but that would imply that I’m too lazy to walk for five minutes before working out. Actually I only showed up in the gym today because I was already in the building for something else, so maybe I really am that lazy.

In my defense, I feel profoundly out of place in a gym. My athletics background is mainly distance running, a pursuit that takes me to a great and wonderful range of places that look nothing like gyms. The one here is nice and open, but it’s very grey. Worse, the dizzying array of machines is readily intimidating. I had no idea where to begin.

After about twenty minutes of playing smartphone games while doing a StairMaster workout, I decided that maybe I should make a serious attempt at figuring out what some of the other machines did. So I walked up to this contraption that claimed to be a “Hammer Strength Bicep Curl” machine, and decided to give it a go. So I slipped my arms where I thought they were supposed to go and calmly looked stupid. After a couple minutes of failing to figure out the proper operation, I moved on.

Fortunately, it turned out that the other machines were a bit more intuitive. Granted, I would rather pretend that some of the higher weight settings were designed for the edge case of a figure from one of the old pantheons descending from Olympus or Norway or wherever to test them out than admit that I’m not actually all that strong, but I was still able to exercise parts of my body without too much trouble. I even figured out the bicep curl machine eventually. I’m not sure that what I ended up doing was a truly effective workout, but I did manage to walk away feeling kind of satisfied.

I’ll admit that’s hardly the most positive spin I could give the experience, but I do think I’m going to give it another try. If you’re a student reading this and you haven’t, I’d suggest testing it for yourself.