A great facility on campus. A vaulted roof over a huge indoor track, with central space for other activities. Go round 6-7 times for a mile, depending on the track.
As I walk round and round I slowly relax and my thoughts start to move freely. I have to watch what’s going on around me and it’s fascinating. Mainly my thoughts wander over the following:
-the point/value of exercise
-all the different people there
-the Special Olympics group who are there sometimes. I compare them to me and it makes me realize how lucky I am. I admire them, as they don’t give up; some of them have pretty severe disabilities. Coming here, to practise in the Armory, gives them a chance to be part of a regular life. The volunteers (mostly students) who accompany each special person are amazing; so patient and kind, and they don’t appear to be condescending at all.
Everyone here has the same basic/general goal—to come to do some form of exercise. So, it probably isn’t representative of the population at large. But, inside here, it’s very refreshing to see so many dedicated to something so good for them. It’s stimulating—the better ones stimulate you to do better; and the ones who are not as good as you make you feel good (although I must say there aren’t many of these. I’m very slow—I’m a plodder who can walk a long time, but not quickly).
The collective energy in the Armory is exciting—people are more relaxed and uninhibited, in what they wear, what they do with their bodies. High school kids, varsity students, adults, older folk. Male, female. White, Black, Asian, Latino. Short, talll, fat, thin. What a mix. Young men and women with lean, sleek bodies. A guy with a huge Afro; girls with ponytails swinging. Singly, in pairs, in school groups. Many days I see an older man walking, pushing a small walker with an oxygen tank; he’s determined, because he walks, sits on bench, then walks again.
Most people run, many walk, but I also see young groups twirling batons or flags; the ROTC groups do rifle practice and precision marching; the pole vaulters practise flying over (or into)the top pole and onto the huge cushions they set out; long-jumpers scatter sand around the pit in the middle; a young guy tries to master a unicycle, but I never see him progress beyond moving along the wall, one hand a prop. The Juggling Club comes sometimes, and I marvel at the eye-hand co-ordination and dexterity. Young girls practise a modern dance routine to loud thumping music.
Some days I’m tempted not to go, but I try to summon up the image of all those people; if they can do it, well, then so can I. And I usually go, and I’m always glad.