05-19-2009, 05:02 PM
I ate lunch at the local Mongolian BBQ joint, where I can pile chicken to thew ceiling on my plate for one price and get it grilled to perfection, when I ran into my gym owner. Rick (imagine, 2 Ricks saying "hi Rick") was pounding down egg foo young with a friend and I sauntered over to chat. Rick has had a variation of his gym since 1984, the year we met. He was nicknamed "Junkyard" because he totalled 2 Corvettes a year apart. His first gym was named "Junkyard's Gym". It was an appropriate name for a real ironman gym. 70% of his clients were bber's, PL's or ex and current football players. The atmosphere was charged with sweaty men, hollering as they lifted heavy weight. Shirts came off to check out the pump, talk was always centered on the next show, how much weight/strength was gained on what protocol (the "gym" internet), and about eating and sleeping. It was very much like the Gold's in Tulsa I belonged to before moving to Lawrence. It was quaint (smallish) and well equiped for the man or woman looking to put on raw muscle. There were no towels and cleaner to wipe the equipment down after use. You just laid in the last man's sweat, hoping that some of the shit he was taking would absorb into your skin. If you didn't holler as you pounded 500lbs on squats, the weight wasn't heavy enough. Shouts of encouragement traveled across the gym from others watching you grind out a max set or rep.We competed against each other in shows. That didn't matter. In the gym, we were brothers. No one covered up to hide progress. No cell phones. Rick hated answering the phone when it interupted his workout or might interupt someone else's. No one was shy in the locker room. Everyone knew your "status" and didn't care. The gals were just as intense as the guys, and there were the more than occasional nude hot tub soaks (although I never got to participate).I miss those days. Rick caters to the clients that pay the bills now. That would be the cardio crowd....never changing bodies, always hours of cardio. His gym(s) have now taken on the corporate look and he hates it. But one must do what one must to survive.It'll never be good like it was again. Too bad. So many will miss what it was really like to be a bber.