It may still be (what passes for) summer in the UK, but here in US it is ‘back to school’ day today for the semester which runs up to Christmas, with breaks for Thanksgiving and a few odd things. The day when the kids who are into sport get back into their assorted High School squads and start re-training. when particular enthusiasts, like the guy above, go into their sheds and basements with renewed vigour and work up a good sweat!
Of course, the weather is still pretty great in August, and some High Schools – the enlightened ones – even move their weights outside:
So it was back to school today – moving up from Middle School to High School actually, but the same place really – for Leo and his mates Chris (who’s been with us all summer on our assorted adventures) and Ryan (who hasn’t, but has kept up his rigorous training with Pete and Ivo while we’ve been away). They had Phys Ed today, where they tend to show off of course, to the despair of the coach. Rather to their surprise (and pleasure), a new guy, Jude could match all their conditioning exercises and they instantly struck up a friendship. And another new guy, a Dutch boy called Tjark, showed off great flexibility and tumbling skills.
I suppose that I should therefore not have been too surprised when three boys left here for school but five came back. Our teen girl Jaymee failed to come back at all – out with her acrobat cronies, straight off to the gym centre.
I was cutting grass in the yard. ‘Hey dad, OK if we show Jude and Tjark our cabin?’ All five had arrived back shirtless (inevitable). Jude – chunky, muscled, and from Canada; Tjark a much slighter person but a winning smile under black curly hair. A bit like these two (I’m not about to start posting instant snaps of the real guys straight on a blog, so make do with these substitutes!).
These kids are in the same position that Dave and I found ourselves in 15 years ago. Father taking up posts at the city’s National Laboratory on assignment from other countries, joining an American school for the first time and (thankfully) finding soul mates very quickly. The population of fit kids around Oak Ridge is steadily increasing, I think.
Well, of course, we’ve happy to see such kids joining in our modest little facility, which is becoming nowhere near large enough the way things are going! And they’re too young to get into Chad’s private gym so long as the current rules like allowing guys to exercise there naked apply. Of course, Leo’s lot exercise naked in our own cabin (as we do) but that’s kind of ‘family’.
I mentioned that they’d better be prepared if Pete or Ivo wandered in naked, and Tjark immediately responded ‘In my country, we do sports naked anyway – even the public pools in the evenings…’ OK, that’s The Netherlands for you, then! Sorted (?)! The chunkier one, Jude, just grinned at me and said ‘It’s OK, Sir, Leo told us all about you!’ Arrrgh – thanks, son! Not absolutely ALL, I hope.
So I think that the local teen-boy muscle and fitness crowd just gained two new members. I shall watch with interest how they match up, if they keep coming over. Jude, apparently, has his own weights coming by road from Canada. And he says that their new home has a suitable outbuilding of some kind… so we might see an alternative venue established! And anyway, in our climate, you don’t always need a building anyway…
About a century ago (it seems) I posted ‘How It All Began’ – me and my childhood mate Colin first discovering that we quite liked to do open-air fitness things, and the lifestyle just grew on me. Dave, my lovely partner, was such a kid too, and how we found each other in our first days in an American school, and grew to be gay partners, father the above-mentioned kids and have lots of acrobatic fun and misadventures, can be found in these three books.
The Chinese symbols you see there on the covers have a special significance in relation to our fitness addiction – Tuan Jie means ‘strength through brotherhood’ or words to that effect, and symbolises the mutual support and encouragement which training as a group brings – to the extent that there are eleven people in the world who have that symbol discretely but proudly displayed on their lower backs. Ten of us are still ‘together’ as members of a performing group but also it symbolises something much more personal, as revealed in the books. Ahem…
I think the five of them had a fun time in the cabin. I did peer in a little later to see Tjark, true to his countrymen’s predilection for nudity, wrestling with Ryan, while the other three were similarly unclad doing bench presses and upright rowing exercises. Interesting to see how the enlarged group works, if it continues.
And now, the gallery! Let’s collect a few more exercising boys together:
Good to see the younger boys taking exercise seriously too:
Swimming is always good…
…and, being British, one can always take the opportunity for a refreshing cup of tea in the pool…
More combined efforts:
(I’ve got a feeling that I’ve posted those guys before, but it’s worth a repeat)
Recording the results:
‘Get fit’ is good. ‘Stay fit’ – meaning keep up the training – is good. Within reason, you can start at any age. Why not follow Jude’s great example (for a ‘just-14yo’): healthy eating, sensible exercise… you can do it! And people like that then pay my salary as a fitness coach!! Gotta be good…