Sweat and Swears
September 26, 2020
by Kyle Buley, College English 12, Mrs. Didrikson
As I walk through the doors, I can only think one thing: this is where I belong. The gym is always full of people, memories, and good times. I take a seat at the desk like I do every day and think to myself, "It's gonna be a good day." After a long day of dealing with school I can finally decompress and just let it all out. At the gym, I let my anger out by doing one of two things: lifting heavy big boy weights or yelling at people. More often than not, it is going to be the second option. The people up there will let me take my anger out and not care for the most part. The people, not the weights, are what make the gym a special place to be.
While at the desk, I reach down into my black Polaris duffel bag and pull out two things, my sweat towel and my pre-workout. As I am sitting back up, I hear the door open. In walks Justin at the same time as always. "Hey Triple B," he says as he comes over to sit in the brown metal folding chair beside me, "how was your day?" Justin is one of the most pleasant guys a person will ever meet. He will come up with nicknames for just about everyone in the weight room. There's "Stallion," "Matinee," "Lady Killer," "Katy Perry Guy," "American Badass," and "Shadowboxer" to name a few. But if he does not know someone then it is always "Big Guy" or "Bud." I have been lucky enough to have been graced with the lovely name "Triple B" which stands for Bitch Boy Buley. It is a nice blend of my love for professional wrestler Triple H and my tendency to complain a lot.
Looking across the gym to my left, I see a familiar sight. Tristan is lying on his bench finishing up his bench routine. In the months that he has been lifting, I have yet to figure out how the heck he can get up to the gym so quickly. We have the same seventh hour class so we should be getting to the gym at the same time, right? Wrong. He somehow shows up 20 minutes before me and gets his benching done quickly. Tristy might not be the most jacked fella in the gym, but he is dedicated. He will be up there lifting for three hours, just like me, but I am spending 75% of that time talking, he is actually working out. Justin leaves me to go talk to Tristan, who has become a sort of mentor to, and I am left all alone.
Just as I am getting ready to head over to a squat rack, the door opens again. This time I hear "Hey, Bugs." Sawyer walks past me carrying his Gymshark duffle bag, 45 ounce Blender Bottle, and a chocolate muffin. He heads over to his favorite rack, the one I was going to use. Sawyer has been kind of like my coach, my mentor, and for sure my friend. He is one of the reasons I started lifting. About three years ago, he was in the same boat that I was. He was a super skinny skater kid who looked like he had not even touched a weight in his life. Then all of a sudden he started working out and got massive. There were, and still are, rumors going around that he has been taking steroids. If a person gets to know him and knows how dedicated he is to lifting, then they will see just how dumb those rumors are. He has coached me, given me tips, given me programs, and has even given me free stuff. Out of everyone I know, he for sure knows the most about weightlifting related things. I have asked him for so much help that I am surprised he has not yelled at me more than he has.
Around 4:00 the door opens and I automatically know who it is. Matt, Brad, and Jenelle's voices come flooding into the room. They always come in together at the same time. Brad and Jenelle are dating so it makes sense that they would come together, but I still don't know why Matt has to come with them. Matt is a special fellow. He swears more than anyone I know. Every single day he will either give me the finger or throw at least one F-bomb at me. Even though he acts like I am the most annoying person in the world, I know he loves me. He rips into me over anything I say or do, but I also tease him a lot. He is a redhead, easy target. It is a Monday so I say, "Aw, man. I gotta hurry up so I can make it home in time to watch The Bachelor." That's when Matt strikes. He rips into me hard for watching it, calling it a "girl's show" and calling me "not right" for watching it, but one person comes to my defense.
sJanelle is always there for me. When Matt starts making fun of me, she supports me. She is the only other person I know in the gym that watches The Bachelor. Tuesdays are our recap days about what happened the night before. Her favorite part of the show is watching the girls cry; my favorite part is looking at the hot ladies. For a solid six months, I could not remember her name at all. It was always just "Brad's girlfriend," but that changed one day. When she walked into the gym, she came up to me and handed me a package. It was a pair of knee-high chicken socks. After that sweet gift, I realized I should probably learn her name, so I listened whenever Brad talked to her.
Brad is the nice guy. He will give me a confidence boost when I need it, scream at me when I am pushing as hard as I can, and give me movie suggestions. For months on end, he told me everyday that I need to watch Scary Movie 2. I would always tell him that I would "watch it later." Finally after about three months I watched it and had to apologize to him for waiting for so long because it was actually a decent film. Now, I listen to every suggestion that he gives me. He is also very funny and his jokes are not as hurtful as Matt's. Brad is always there for someone when they need some help. Today I was all out of pre workout so I asked him for a scoop. He runs to his bag and comes back with two containers. "Cotton candy or mango?" he asks. Obviously, I go with cotton candy. Who would not?
The doors open yet again. This time it's the iconic father-son duo, Steve and Kyle Bliss. Pastor Steve Bliss (I call him Steve-O) is one of the newest regulars to the Roseau Fitness Center. He started December 30th, just to make sure people knew it was not just a New Year's resolution. They move over to the two brown metal folding chairs and take a seat. Kyle is decked out in his new sleeveless Punisher hoodie and pair of Jordans. Steve is wearing his black NWA shirt. Steve-O is trying to lose weight. He looks noticeably thinner than he was when he started and I go up and ask him how much he has lost now. He tells me that in the three months he has been coming up here, he is already down 30 pounds. That's a lot. Almost as much as Kyle.
Kyle Bliss is the most interesting character up there. His goofy personality and his overconfidence blend into one hell of a mixture. I can confidently say that he is almost everyone's favorite gym goer. Someone could come up to the gym for three hours, just watch him, and be entertained the whole time. The lack of balance that he possesses is enough to make me cry laughing. His confidence sprouts from his weight loss journey. Over the course of two years, he lost a whopping 90 pounds. The only downside to Kyle getting fit is that now everyone has to deal with him ripping his shirt off and putting on his own little bodybuilding show.
Kyle gets up to say hello. "Sup, dude!" He gets up to do our handshake and almost trips doing it. Classic Bliss. Everyone is happy to see him. You can hear Sawyer yell out "Hey, Bliss," Tristan mumble "Father Gains," and Justin say "Aw, man. Everyone better look out now." While walking over to greet the guys, Kyle again almost trips on nothing. He is only home from college for a little bit so everyone wants to make the most of it. Kyle is always the life of the party. Even on days when he is not at the gym, he is still the topic of at least one conversation. He has become a sort of poster child for the gym.
The weight room is not about the weights. Sure, they are important and technically the whole point of it but that is not what it means to a lot of people. It is not about getting huge or pumping iron, it is about the people. If the individuals I know and love did not frequent there, my workouts would be a lot more boring and a lot shorter. Without these wonderful people to help guide me on my journey to get absolutely massive, then I don't know where the heck I would be.