Monday, October 23, 2006

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 Michigan?” “No,” I responded. “Good,” he replied. “Just checking.” So I went about my workout and again, Shaq does another set and leaves his weights all over the floor, slamming them in a manner I had been admonished for on more than a few occasions. So I look over again, and Shaq, with camera on him says, “What you looking at Michigan? You see something you like over here?” “Nope,” I replied and started my next set without another word. Well, apparently Shaq felt this a good opportunity to critique my form. “Push it, Michigan, c’mon!” he yelled. :”All the way up! Quit messing around, Michigan! You got more than that! All the way up!” You know, Dennis Rodman never did this shit when I saw him at the gym in Newport, what the fuck is Shaq’s deal? I will say though, when you have Shaquille O’Neal telling you to lift harder, it is intense. It’s one thing to hear the cheesy recording over the loudspeaker, but when a 2-time NBA MVP is yelling at you from 10 feet away, you go balls to the wall.

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 America’s youth by showing them that is important to be courteous to others. As in RERACKING YOUR FUCKING WIEGHTS.

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.


At 3:53 PM, Blogger Tara said...

Well if I ever had any motivation to watch any kind of sports channel, that would be it...To see you on there, giving Shaq the disgusted eye about his lack of gym etiquette. I'll bet he didn't even wipe down the exercise equipment after he used them. Great story, Dade! :)

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Ali said...

I would look out for your appearance, but that probably means I would have to sit through some sort of ass-kissing Ahmad Rashad intro that involves his ability to interview people without asking actual questions. I don't think I can do it...

But people who don't re-rack weights are douchebags. Yes, even genearlly nice and charitable two-time MVP's, who, let's face it, should have "people" for that.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger minijonb said...

“What you looking at Michigan? You see something you like over here?”


What would be great is if that part doesn't get edited out of the feature... too bad there's absolutely no chance of that.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His trainer should have racked the weights.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Ashburnite said...

haha!! I love that you just said "Nope" and went about your business. And like mjb said, it would be great if they didn't edit that out.

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Wow, who would think that you and I would have "Shaq" experiences in cities completely across the country from each other. He sat next to a few friends and I at the opening of Chris Rocks "Head of State" movie. There was a line about Shaq in the movie that was only funny because Shaq was sitting right behind me. I've seen it on tv since, not nearly as funny. Needless to say though, he wasn't with his wife, but probably with one of your old girlfriends coworkers. But yeah, the bitch better rerack his gawd damn weights.

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Virgle Kent said...

I would have told him “next time bring a midget along with you so you can have someone to pick up and rerack all these fucking weights you leaving all over the place” I hate when people slam weights around and the other day a guy almost dropped one on my foot, let’s just say it almost got ugly in the gym, but I’ll save that for another day. holla

At 8:56 AM, Blogger imaginaryconversations said...

As a girl I hever have this problem - I use the tiny, pathetic weights that only women use (7.5 pounds these days), so women always put them back.

If I were you and in a worse mood, I would've called him on it directly. I'll miss your glare because I don't have TV (and never watch basketball anyways). Anyways, he was going for the common denominator on that program - a fat "average guy" who has never seen a gym in his life, and who'd be amazed with Shaq and think it was "cool" how he slammed the weights down.

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work out at Shaq 24 and had to quit. The staff there constitutes some of the most dickheaded people I've ever had the displeasure of giving money to.

Reggie is full of shit. When he's showing around a new member he comes up and talks to people during their sets to get the potential customer to think that the staff knowns everyone. If he's not with a new customer and you say as little as "hi" to him while walking in he gives you that "I played FSU football and now I take gym applications. Fuck my life is worthless" look.

There there's that other fucking asshole, i don't even remember his name, but if you ever have a complaint about the gym he comes up to you, winstrol flooded arms crossed, and glares at you like he's going to kick your ass if you have a problem with the service you're getting.

In short, fuck 24-Hour fitness.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

Non-re racking of weights aside, I've always thought Shaq was a pretty good asset to the NBA. As a Laker fan, it sucked when he left b/c from then on, I knew every Laker game was going to degenerate into Kobe scoring about 60 points a game while Slava Medevenko flails about wildly in the paint. He might not be as dominant as he was before, but enjoy him while you got him Heat fans.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

I wouldn't have signed the waiver unless he re-racked his weights. Why be a pawn for his little freak fest? You know it's going to be edited to make you look like an ass. I hate entitled people.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous cedar said...

This is why I hate meeting celebrities--they usually turn out to be dicks. Good for you for not fawning over him.
I just joined a gym for the first time ever last week. This may be the first sign of the Apocalypse.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Tara - No, he did not. good call.

Ali - His trainer made a vian attempt to do it after the crew lef,t which included racking 65s where 30s were suposed to be.

Min - Honestly, I bet I"m completely edited out.

Anon - See my comment to Ali. He made a half-assed attempt but it made little difference.

Ash - What was I supposed to say?

Joe - Did you tell me that story? I forgot. If not, why not? It's pretty damn funny.

VK - Holla. A midget to shaq is pretty much anyone not namen Yao.

IC - It was probably impressive on TV. Not so much when you need to use those weights.

Anon - I just try and ignore those people. Actualyl I try and ignore everyone at the gym.

Johnson - I am a Shaq fan too, just not a Heat fan. And not a shaq fan at the gym.

Jaime - It'll probably be edited to make me look skinny and scared of him. Of course, everyone looks skinny next to that guy.

Cedar - I am actualyl disgusted by most celebrities. my friend worked at a trendy hotel in SoBe for a year and told me about geroge Clooney PIssing his pants and other stories of celebs who are pretty much lousy people. So I am not only not impressed by faous people, but generally try to avoid them.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Derek said...

Too funny. That's awesome.


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