Monday, January 18, 2010

License and Registration, Please - Part One

First off, this is not intended to sound like I'm pining for the ways of the world to change just so they can fit the very way that I see things. If you want to listen to liberal high-minds who think they know "the way everything should be" that would produce undisputed utopic results, then there are plenty of other forums out there. I'm not here to complain, but to observe.

There are certain activities in life, driving a car being the ultimate example, that require education, testing, and licensing in order to partake. This is done for the ultimate safety and well-being of society. What if such a testing and licensing system were made a prerequisite for several other leisure activities? I'll use the examples of working out, golf, and casino gambling, exploring one per day.

Working Out - If you are a longtime gym-goer, you dread the month of January for the influx of New Years' Resolution people. I can't blame the gym itself for offering membership deals to out-of-shape newcomers after the holidays because that's simple market capitalization. But it burns me to the core that these new dickwads come in and by their very presence take away from the experience of the paying customers that are there 4, 5, or 6 days a week all year, every year. Why do they take away from my experience? It's not because they create a crowd, because a crowded gym is still an operable gym if it has the right layout. It's because they are uninformed, oblivious to etiquette, and just don't know the ins and outs yet. I understand everyone has to start somewhere (although I'd prefer that somewhere to not be in the same room as me), but if you are walking around with your iPod on so loud that it renders you unable to communicate with others, or you count your reps out loud so that it throws off all the red-blooded Americans in there that manage to count to themselves, or you walk too close to someone while they're in the middle of a set, then you are creating an unsavory and even unsafe environment for everyone.

-----The solution: If you join a gym, you need to pass a simple, 20-question multiple choice test in order to be able to hop right in and work out at will. The test would consist of questions about etiquette and generally accepted best practices (i.e. putting the heavier plates at the bottom of the rack, putting dumbbells back in the spot that you got them from). If you don't get an 80% or more, you have to spend four gym sessions with a trainer that will show you the ropes and point things out to you, like a remedial week. If you pass that, then you now have your exercise license and are steadily on your way to being a worthwhile member. Making someone work even just a little bit for something creates a greater appreciation for the task.

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