Saturday, February 4, 2012

Simply: why Bally('s) sucks.

So, today: woke up to the 36th hour of nonstop snow falling in our fair city, slightly hoping I would hear my patients had cancelled before I left for my 25-mile commute. No such luck...but they did cancel before I got to work. So I turned around 5 miles shy, headed back north, and decided to stop in for a workout before breakfast. New place: the Bally Sport gym that just opened a month ago and replaced the more industrial-looking, smaller place a mile away. I walked through it a week ago just for fun, and it looked pretty damned nice. The music that was pumping was awesome too. I felt it could turn my mind away from ending my membership there and going to 24 Hour instead.

Today ended up being the big challenge for this place. The carpeted locker room area and wood-paneled lockers with new-fangled combo locks certainly pushed the upscale-posh-country club feel. Great new equipment, too. And I figured that since I had forgotten my headphones, I could depend on that awesome music to pull me through. But instead of adrenaline-pumping sounds, I got to get my hard-core, testosterone-fueled workout on with the help of those bone-crushing stalwarts, Coldplay, Train, and Selena.

Folks, this ain't the first time I've had to suffer the slings and arrows of shitty music while trying to unleash my inner monster. Daniel Powter (he of American Idol-closing-song "Bad Day" infamy) has shared in this. As have numerous guys bopping along to a beat that had made its way through at least one focus group. (One clueless dolt sang about how sad he was at losing his girlfriend with the feeling usually reserved for reading a grocery list out loud. Man card revoked.) You all know the type. This music well may have been why iPods were invented. And it is like kryptonite to my soul. So bad is this music, that I have threatened to leave Bally many times before. (Crappy, CRAPPY name, by the begs to be called "Bally's," which isn't right.)

Compounding today's journey into workout hell were the television monitors around the weight area. People, I don't CARE that it's Saturday morning. I don't WANT to watch the Flintstones while doing squats! Nor do I want to watch the newest incarnation of Barney (the purple dinosaur, not Rubble), nor Spongebob Squarepants. I'm gonna take a guess and say that if you're a dad at a gym on a Saturday morning, this is precisely the drool-inspiring pap you wanted to get away from in the first place. And if you're not, you still want to avoid this stuff because...well, if you wanted to watch it, there's a couch a lot closer than this place, right? (For the record, the sole sports event on any television monitor was a basketball game on the exact opposite end of the gym, by the cardio equipment.)

Why, people of Bally? Why the everlovin' fuck? Are you trying to coddle the resolutionists until they finally give up of their own accord? Or are you trying to actively drive people out of the gym on their own? It's certainly working well for me. I swear, as God is my witness, I shall never enter another awkwardly-named Bally again without a set of trusty headphones again. Makes me actually want to build a home gym where I can blast as much Helmet, Black Sabbath, and Metallica as I want. And the TV monitor (if there is one) will show World's Strongest Man competitions. I'm not much for cardio machines or the circuit machines, for which some of that music seems ideal. Give me free weights, plain and simple. I became one of those meathead guys this past year who derives great joy from picking up heavy things and putting them back down again, cheerfully grunting all the while. Wish I'd discovered this years ago. But oh well, better late than never.

Bally, you are on notice. Again. GRR...

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