Due to our lack of skill, my golfing buddy and I usually play a scramble. After each stroke, we both take our next swing from the preferred location of the better ball. I remember one hole when my friend blasted his drive almost 300 yards: his ball traveled 150 yards straight and then 150 yards right, landing deep in the woods. I launched my drive straight but sky-high, causing the ball to plug hard against the wall of a sand trap. Someone in our foursome, unable to contain his schadenfreude, yelled out, “And that’s your preferred drive!”
Golf is a sport that requires focus and concentration, just like serious exercise. I’ve long believed that proper conditioning is not just a measure of fitness, but also an ability to block out a gym’s countless distractions. Frankly, I don’t see how you can achieve one without the other. Just take a look at a typical week of assaults on my senses.
Sight: On Monday, I pushed open the door of my gym and walked into a cave. The fellow at the front desk asked my forgiveness for the power outage, and invited me to work out anyway. Dude: no apology necessary – I’m just delighted the front door is unlocked. The rest is up to me.
Sound: How about working out while a fire alarm shrieks endlessly? (Same gym, same time.)
Smell: On Wednesday, my jump rope and I were met at the threshold of the aerobics room by the health club version of tear gas: a repairman was applying industrial lubricant to a dozen stationary bikes. I counted on my clean-running liver to process the toxic fumes at the same rate I inhaled them.
Touch: On Friday, the gym I used has its free weight area built on some kind of plywood platform. When I perform heavy squats, I can feel the floor sag under the weight of each rep.
Now I know what you’re thinking: The distractions at the beginning of the week were just a coincidence, but an unstable floor is a permanent feature. Shouldn’t a weak base be motivation enough to go find a new club?
Actually, this facility is my preferred gym.