Making the Grade


How much time do you spend looking in the mirror, criticising your body and wishing for improvements? Us gay sporty guys seem to do it all the time! The trend these days for many guys is the slimmer lean look, apparently.

Not so with Billy, teen bodybuilding prizewinner and brother of Chris, Leo’s best mate. He’s in his last year of High School, just turned 17, but the school is very anti-bodybuilding. So he trains at home, in our cabin, and during the weekday daytime sessions at Chad’s gym when everyone else is required to observe some decorum about their dress and behaviour. Leo and Chris get to those, also.

When Dave and I turned 17, we were allowed (with some nervousness on Chad’s part) to join the main gym sessions, where discretion about the potential after-hours behaviour, particularly of the gay contingent, is demanded. The minimum age is normally 18 for obvious reasons. Chad has decided to offer Billy the chance to join the more ‘tyro’ builders who only get in there in the evenings, to aid his development in the sport which is his passion. He is not gay, but not interested in girls either – just in building his body.


Steve, his father, had a long talk with Chad. Since Steve has become very sporty and now trains with us himself despite being even older than we are (!) – our way – he is cool with Billy’s invitation. Billy has to prove himself to the rest of the group – that’s Chad’s way – through a series of tests in front of the whole lot of them. He’ll have a soul mate to share the pain and that could well be Dave or I when he gets to choose – but that’s the deal. That’s how it works – he’ll have to agree to be a future soul mate for another new entrant if ever chosen.

Cover1 ThumbAll this ‘macho’ stuff is documented in the books. OK, you might just say it is ‘boys being stupid’, but it’s fun, and the camaraderie which it develops gives huge benefit to everyone’s efforts, be they simply in weights, acro-gymnastics, wrestling, or whatever they choose to do (often, all of it and more). Having a training partner (or partners) works wonders for your confidence…



…and then, each session of mirror-gazing gives ever-greater satisfaction…


…but I do wish that boys doing ‘selfies’ would hold the camera/phone to one side, so we get a better view! Better still, get a friend to take the pix:


So, Billy will make the grade, and no doubt will get lots of advice from the more experienced lifters. The one thing he will not get in Chad’s gym is any suggestions of supplements or drugs, except for innocuous protein shake drinks etc. This is absolutely not a place which condones ‘cheating’.

Chris and Leo of course won’t be allowed near the adult sessions for a few years yet, but continue to train at their own level in our cabin, not as bodybuilders, but to build their strength for other sports including, in Leo’s case, acrobatics. So it’ll be more basic stuff for them for a while:


Chris is developing quite a taste for artistic gymnastics (more than Leo who is definitely an ‘acrobatic’ person) – so, despite being a late starter in the sport, before long Chris might be trying this:


All three of them enjoy their wrestling, be it high-school style…


(although the school demands a full leotard, even in training) – or our more laid-back approach of submission NHB!

So, as the boys get older, we’ll definitely see more of this:



…whilst Dave and I and the rest of our crew sit back in our wheelchairs or on our Zimmer frames and admire the next generation!

Actually, I can’t bear the thought of us reaching that state. Hopefully, for all generations, the ‘fooling around’ will  continue for as long as we are able…


Wot, says Dave, although acknowledging that this is essentially a gay male blog, ‘What about Jaymee?‘ Yes, well, she trains fantastically hard too, but increasingly so under the watchful eye of her mum Karen whilst continuing to achieve stunning acrobatic moves with Leo: she appears with us in our occasional shows and is another much-loved contributor. And, by the way, is taking a seriously healthy interest in the boys, whom she constantly seeks to impress. Yes, the kids are all making the grade too…

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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