In the late Summer of 2004, we moved to the suburbs; immediately Kathy signed us all up with a family membership to the local YMCA. I knew right away that we should have stayed in the country.
“It’ll be great,” Kathy enthused. “We’ll meet you at the Y on your way home from work, and we can all exercise as a family. What a good example to the children, to see us both taking our physical fitness so seriously.”
Who wouldn’t want to run, with such good company?
She painted a rosy picture. Healthy, smiling children and their thin (but muscular) parents, running effortlessly in single-file around the brightly-lit indoor track, or smoothly operating the gleaming exercise machines, to the envy and admiration of dozens of onlookers. Tired but laughing, we would drive home together, united as a family in this common goal.
After stalling for some months, I finally agreed to actually go to the YMCA and get my membership card. Inside, the rank smell of sweating bodies and the sensation of universal despair struck me like a blow to the face. Nervously, I let them take my picture, and immediately fled, before I was inadvertently sucked into this gloomy vortex of fitness. My worst fears were confirmed: joining the Y was like joining the Army, or at least it included many of the same odors.
Each week, my children go to the YMCA for Homeschool Physical Education, a program offered free to members, and the major reason we joined. They have taken classes in gymnastics, swimming, and a variety of sports and physical activities. Most of the time they really enjoy it, although they tend to dread the annual focus on Presidential Fitness testing. Cleverly remembering lessons from my Army days, I held aloof from such things, although I did unbend enough to drop the kids off at the Y when Kathy was at Bible Study Fellowship.
After more than eighteen months, Kathy convinced me to play Wally-Ball with the family after work, and I actually darkened the door of the YMCA for several weeks, trying to teach my children (and a few passing urchins) how to play this interesting game. It didn’t take, though, and I soon happily returned to my sedentary ways.
Today was a big day. After more than three long years of YMCA membership and not-so-subtle hints on the part of my wife, I finally went to the Y and actually used an exercise machine. Sadly, the paparazzi were not permitted inside, and there were no pictures taken of this momentous event. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that I logged a good 35 minutes in on a fiendish device my wife calls an ‘elliptical’.
We did, however, capture David and Sarah’s running-while-holding-hands act.
A man of my years and girth tends to take a philosophical view of life; hopefully this will prove to have been a passing phase, like many before it. As Mr. Bennett said in Pride and Prejudice, “Don’t worry, it will pass more quickly than it ought.”
Project 366, Day 31