“Five Boys”…


School’s out, Easter’s coming, and the Brits are here! The son of my oldest friend Colin, and my son’s great British mate, Ollie, flown over in the care of the parents of one of Ollie’s best sporting pals in the UK, one Alex, who’s slightly older than my son Leo, and a very talented gymnast on the apparatus (he’s been to our center already and he is very good)…


Along with Leo’s friends Chris and Ryan, we therefore have a gang of five boys sharing our home and our training spaces – all of them with the same ambitions – to become as fit as they can, have great bodies, and participate in the sports they love – gym, acrobatics (new to Alex but he’s seriously keen to learn!), wrestling (ditto) and so on.

To be fair, the two locals Chris and Ryan do return to their own homes occasionally, but overall the ‘tribe’ is sticking together like glue. Ollie has been with Leo and Chris both in UK and over here several times – they Skype constantly, show off their muscles and their latest ‘tricks’ usually with a grinning parent in the background (Colin was a gymnast too, and Natasha his wife: I don’t know about Alex’s mum or dad as yet but they are very welcome here).


It means the boys camping out in the training cabin while the parents get Leo’s basement room (cleaning it up was something of a challenge) but everyone is very, very happy. It is going to be a great Easter. Alex’s parents get to go off on their own for a bit whilst we host their boy here.

Naturally, the boys are keen to show off their latest weights results…


…and there is competition, but the bottom line with this group is that they all want everyone else to be as good as each other. Ollie has been demonstrating this admirable attitude for some years now (despite being the youngest): I guess I’ve driven that ethic into Leo myself – and it is working brilliantly. ‘One for all and all for one’ could never have been so true.

It’s always better training in friendly groups, whatever the exercise…

aussie gym idea

…some take it to slight extremes…


…Leo and the local lads do tend to throw off their clothes when training in private “because we don’t need them and we’re going to get sweaty” and (I admit) following the example of my partner Dave and myself, and our male friends. Bodies are to be admired, after all. And, to make things totally clear, all five boys are seriously straight (unlike ourselves), Alex included – very clear from his conversations with Ollie and our gang when we met them at Knoxville airport!

It’s going to be a fun Easter for all. Less work at the gymnastics center for us (with some sessions taking a break): a chance to be tour guides for our new British friends (being British ourselves, we sometimes feel that we need such a sanity check), time to encourage the boys in their endeavours and to throw a few weights around ourselves… and maybe show off a bit as well…


But this break is for the boys, and we’ll likely see more of this stuff…



If you can’t get covered in dirt when you’re a teenager (well, nearly, in Ollie’s case) then you’re really missing out. And the rain will wash it off…


‘Running shirtless is cool’ says Alex, when our boys suggested it. It rained on them a little. ‘And running shirtless in the rain is REAL cool…’ …so he’s a convert immediately, when the heavens obliged. Of course, it’s somewhat warmer here overall than in UK right now, which we hear is having storms yet again, so Ollie and Alex probably think it is summer already!

Not sure about leaving your gym equipment out in the rain, though, even if you relish the wonderful feel of the drops against your skin…

gym in the rain

I may even get some time over the Easter break to continue book 4, the tragic tale of a Native American boy inspired by a short visitation from just one as such, but otherwise entirely fiction. Meanwhile, for gay readers (and those who are gay-sympathetic) there are three out there already in print and in e-space covering some of our earlier exploits in gay love, circus and (mis)adventure. Click on the covers.

The first part...The second part...Cover 3 Thumb

But now: some more fitness to inspire our boys – and perhaps ourselves as well!

gym bar



Aha – there’s another thing waiting for Alex! Wild swimming in the Clinch River. Maybe we forgot to mention that one as yet…

…but right now I’m going across to the cabin to check out how they are going with their weights – ‘relaxing’ a couple of hours after a hearty ‘family and friends’ Sunday lunch. Sometimes the sitting-down exercises are the best after such a meal, like these Zottman curls for the biceps. I’m sure they’re doing great!

Zottman Curls

PS: I stole the title of this post from a 60’s British chocolate bar, which my dad told me he used to demand on a regular basis from his parents. The head-and-shoulders pictures of five boys of dubious vintage, anticipating the delicious taste of the chocolate graced the outer wrapper of what he remembers was a rather dark chocolate costing about sixpence at the time (roughly 2.4 pence in current English money or about four US cents today).  And, thanks to Google images… here we are! Even cheaper, so even older here just one old English penny!




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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