Ready to Go

Whenever a holiday approaches, I’m reminded of my old swim coach’s attitude toward days off. When a teammate asked in early summer whether we’d have practice on Independence Day, my coach said: “The Russians have practice on July 4th, as do the Germans … you can bet we’ll be practicing too!”

Years later, it occurred to me that every athlete celebrates an Independence Day. During the course of a year, I’m sure that national holidays worldwide interfere with the same number of training days. Over time, workouts missed due to illness or injury probably even themselves out too. What I can’t account for, however, are training disparities related to fitness center disasters.

It’s never a good sign when you turn into your gym’s parking lot and find two fire trucks sitting outside the club’s front door. As I sense my workout slipping away, I start to descend through the five stages of grief: Denial (maybe the entire firehouse decided to exercise right now?); anger (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! As if my workouts aren’t already challenging enough!); then bargaining (I’m here only for the treadmill, so I’m fine if the free weight area has burned to the ground). Inside, I learn that an electrical circuit has blown, so the gym remains open for everything except equipment that plugs into a socket, like a treadmill.

As I slink back out of the facility with my gym bag unopened, my depression gives way to acceptance: There’s got to be a vacation day somewhere in the world, right?

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