Hey Shaq, How 'Bout a Rerack?!
From time to time, I like to work out at Shaq’s gym. It is actually not so much a gym belonging to Shaquille O’Neal as it is a franchise of a major national chain that I belonged to in California who, when expanding into South Florida, thought it might increase membership if they had Shaq’s name attached. And his picture on every wall. And his shoes in a display case. And his voice coming over the loudspeaker saying “If you want guns like mine, and a 6-pack like mine, keep pushing it people! Superman wasn’t built in a day.” Highly motivating, I know. I find none of this to be an inducement for me to workout, but the place is open 24 hours and clean and new and rarely crowded. Such was the case Sunday night as I began my warm up with about four other people in the gym. Until I hear someone yell “Hey, Big Man, what’s goin’ on?!”
And there he was, all 12 feet of him, the best player on the Miami Heat. I had seen him in here on a few other occasions as he, like myself, prefers to work out when nobody else is there. I really hate it when people come up to me and ask for a picture while I’m lifting too. But today was special as in addition to his trainer, Shaq had brought along a camera crew from ABC to shoot some special about his workouts. So instead of keeping to himself and going about his business as he usually did when he came to lift, Shaq was instead in character as he went though his routine. Making cute little one liners like “If you aint got guns, you can’t wear a tank top” and flexing in the mirror. Or yelling at his trainer to lift harder as they went back and forth in a high-intensity upper body routine. This all would have been only a minor distraction or, dare I say, even an entertaining novelty if only they had followed some common gym courtesy.
The Big Man and his trainer were doing some shoulder presses with relatively heavy weights. Mind you, a 95 pound dumbbell in the hands of Shaquille O’Neal looks about like one of those ones they have in the aerobics room would in my hand, but no matter. At the end of each set, instead of placing the weights down like a normal person would, Shaq not only slammed them but did so with such force that they bounced up and knocked other weights off the rack. Essentially unracking every dumbbell in the place. Not cool, I thought. So, as I was between sets two benches down, I looked over at Shaq and his trainer like “Are you going to put those back?” My glare was not unnoticed.
Last night, I happened to be wearing a shirt that said “Michigan Track” on it, for reasons I am not going to go into. Shaq noticed this and said “You go to
Shaq’s "encouragement" continued for another couple of sets until I decided to go and get some water at which point he shouted “That’s right, Michcigan. Get outta here!” I looked back at him and said “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be back.” Which I was. On my way to the water fountain, a cute Production Assistant asked me to sign an appearance waiver for ABC. This marked the first time in my life that I was asked to sign a waiver DURING a workout, but whatever. Shaq also took the time to listen to the gripings of a disabled woman who is a regular at the gym (at which point he immediately summoned over the manager and told him to order another cable cross so wheelchair lady wouldn’t have to wait) and talked to a little kid who aspired to be a basketball player. And while I am generally a big fan of Shaquille’s, I think he could make a better role model to
At any rate, if you happen to be watching NBA basketball this year (which I will not and encourage all of you to do the same) and see a cute feature on Shaq and his personal trainer, look in the background for a tan guy with a Michigan Track muscle shirt on. That would be me. Looking disgruntled and angry as I rearrange every dumbbell in the place.