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Saturday, March 5, 2016

And, we're off. Wish us luck

This weekend is the Arnold Fitness Festival. I work less than a mile from the convention center where it is held. I see a lot of the traffic, auto and foot, of people flocking to this huge event. Until recently these people seemed foolish, and silly.

Last year, in January, I started going to the gym regularly, lifting some weights, not a lot, but some, hitting the treadmill, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines, with a fury. And a transformation took place. I had  become a fitness guy, and I attended the Arnold Fitness Festival.

It was obvious that it was not just for fitness people. There were plenty of fit people, rippling, sinewy muscles bulging under compression shirts, or lean, fit Lycra wearing athletes. It was filled with average people, like me.

Maybe they were looking for inspiration, or camaraderie, or just hoping to glimpse a future version of themselves. It is impossible to say what drives people to navigate those constricted hallways, filled with humanity, but they pack the place.

I tried to explain why I went, but couldn't. Nobody ever accused me of being fit, or muscular, but I went, and loved it. Maybe it is the crowds, I do love a crowd, filled with diverse, varied humanity. There is a herd like solidarity in a packed convention center.

 A long time ago I worked the Interbike Show in Las Vegas, it was huge, filled with bicycles, parts, accessories, buyers, sellers, and shoppers. It was fantastic. All those people gathered around one central theme, it was an epiphany of sorts. And it was reinforced by the Arnold Festival.

It is easier to fit in with a crowd of strangers. There is no pressure to be something, nobody cares or expects anything. It is a chance to escape. It is a chance to let your guard down, and the world wash over you. You are everybody, in a crowd of everybodys.

Tomorrow I will make my way to the Fitness Festival, and mix with the people, and embrace the quirks, and differences.  I will come away recharged, and appreciative. And I will take pictures, and post them here, and it will be cool.

From "Sweetheart Like You" by Bob Dylan