I joined what is now 212 about four years ago. I moved to Providence from Manhattan five years ago for a job and had been searching—in truth more for a circle of friends than a gym—when someone recommended 212. It took a while for me to get hooked, but hooked I got. It took a solid year to be able to do a windmill, and I was terrified of the snatch for almost as long. To those of you that think you’re taking a while to get a movement down, you’re not. Promise. Some weeks I'm better than others at getting in enough workouts, but I miss it when I'm not there and my body and mind have become dependent. I sleep better, joints don't hurt, and I'm less cranky (!) when I'm working out regularly. And then there's the staff and the members ...
I love my gym. I love that when I walk in the door I feel like I just came home and more often than not someone calls my name. I love the anticipation before the workout begins, the telepathic 'they-want-us-to-do-what?' glance we lob at one another when, for example, Steve folds himself into some sort of frog thing and says "now do this" and we all try valiantly, and the rallying 'two twelve' cry at the end. I love how bad-ass Kim is, how kind, yet tough, Kerry is (what other gym owner sends individual emails checking in?), how Colin feigns patience with your whining only to smile gently then push you harder while he talks about great cheese, how Steve gets in your face demanding that the animal come out (in class or as he teaches me how to kick an attacker’s ass), how Sean high-fives and makes sure to connect with EVERYONE, how Heather is always smiling or laughing and manages to never, ever seem stressed, how Alicia makes it look like it’s just going to be a party (ha!), how Julie calms with her very presence. The staff are a cool group. The members are eclectic and fun and weird and we are so totally different from one another, yet we all play well together and push one another on. I’ve made some terrific friends and have probably learned more about generosity of spirit and diversity of opinion from 212 than from anywhere else. I love my gym.
Unlike many of my 212 buddies, I was never athletic. Some of my siblings were (I’m the sixth of seven), but I wasn't. I was artsy and book-sy. I played music, sang, danced, and read and read and read. A storm could have been raging when I was in a book – I’d have been oblivious. Still happens. The most physical I got was dance, which I loved, but I never got athleticism. It’s only in recent years that I understand the ‘sound body, sound mind’ thing. I really didn’t get the value of it. So I was surprised when, about a year or so ago, my doctor said while taking my resting heart rate "it's low because you're an athlete". She may as well have said I was an astronaut. It was one of those silly moments that shake how you see yourself. I’m not 25 anymore, but I'm in pretty good shape (for my age), I'm stronger now than I’ve ever been, and my body can withstand some pretty rigorous workouts, so yeah ... I'm athletic. It feels really good to say that, though owning it stills feels a little weird. The mind rebels.
I want to do a Tough Mudder. I have no great desire to run a marathon and I suck at swimming so a triathlon is super-out, but I may want to compete in a Strongman/woman competition. This is the astronaut speaking. I want to go zorbing, I want to bungee-jump, I want to go para-sailing and ice-climbing. Wait – isn’t there an obstacle-course park in Maine or New Hampshire? Weren’t we supposed to go?
I love my gym. I love my family and friends. I love my home. I love my car (her name is Robin ‘cause of her color). I love my job. I love the company I work for. Loving most of those things doesn't surprise me at all, but I never, EVER thought I would love a gym. I love my gym. I love 212. It might be a cult. I'm not sure. I don't care. I'm drinking the coconut water.