This morning I went to the gym early so I could swim some laps. There were about twenty cars in the lot when I arrived at 7:30, a half hour after the club opened.
Inside, most of the people I saw were on the weights, hardcore musclemen who would be there rain or shine, holiday or apocalypse, certain to pump their iron no matter what. “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” has a funny scene when Steve Carell’s character, Dodge, goes into the gym, trying to keep as much normalcy in his life as possible before the meteorite strikes earth and obliterates mankind. He’s one of the only ones there. He has trouble mustering any enthusiasm for the task and he approaches his workout with little energy. In the background while Dodge struggles to stay on the treadmill, there is a muscleman diligently at work with the free weights, sculpting his guns and pecs, undaunted by the impending doom of the inevitable cataclysm. That’s who I saw this morning when I went to the gym at 7:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Gym Rats who must be there. No matter what. It’s an addiction. It’s oxygen to them.
Unlike the weightlifting room, the pool area was empty. I had the whole thing to myself. I could have swum diagonally, corner to corner, taking up the entire pool, and no one would have known or cared. One person came along on the deck through the wet area while I was swimming, a guy who just sat in the sauna. Other than him, I didn’t see anyone.
As I swam back and forth, I wondered where all the hardcore athlete swimmers were. It was prime time to be there—the first hour of the day the club was opened, the first day of the week, the first day of the year. Where was everyone? As I took another lap, flip turning at the end of the lane to reverse direction and swim back that other way, it dawned on me. I was the hardcore athlete swimmer, such that I was. It was I who represented the pool people who would undauntedly put in the laps while others slept off their previous nights’ celebratory consequences. I’m no athlete, but I am tenacious and determined to keep swimming, even when my body hurts too much to move and when I’m so chronically fatigued that all I want is to be is unconscious. Against those odds, I guess I am a little hardcore. So here’s to resolutions for the new year. Resolutions to keep going. To not give up. To act like you’re hardcore.
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