Today’s Gallery Theme: Chest Development
It is perhaps unfortunate that I introduced my new ‘trainee’ Alvin in the same week that the latest “Chipmunks” movie opened on both sides of the Atlantic. Regular readers will be well aware that I often change names to protect the identity of folks I write about, especially younger kids. Two people have mentioned to me that my choice of name was inspired by the movie and that no responsible parent these days would call a son Alvin!
So now it’s confession time. I intended to change his name, and I forgot. The friend of my trainee 9yo twins ‘Stevie’ and ‘Josh’ (note the quote marks!) really is called Alvin. In truth, I’m not convinced he knows anything about Chipmunks movies anyway. Apparently he is named for his grandfather.
Our Alvin knows what he wants. Encouraged by his still-athletic father, he wants to build a strong body “and be able to do what Leo does”… that’s my son, who has trained acrobatics alongside Dave’s daughter for years, has his own performance routines with her, has moved on to fakir stuff like the bed of nails with his mates and is just 14yo. Oh, and is in the weight room whenever he gets the chance, and using the free weights and wall bars in his bedroom the rest of his waking time.
A 24/7 fitness freak is Leo, and he gets that from not just Dave and me, but from his mum and her partner too, who entered our lives originally as fire breathers, body-burners, and knife-throwing targets. So I guess that you can see where all this has come from!
Stevie, Josh and Alvin are getting three sessions a week with us, up to two hours each time. Some might say that’s far too much for 9yos whose bodies are still developing and, indeed, we do have to be very careful. There is plenty of ‘play’ in the sessions too, and the weights, so far, are light. But, yes, as I reported the other day, they have all three sampled Leo’s personal nail bed when we held a training session in his basement lair. Usually, we do one session at the twin’s home – huge basement space and bodyweight exercises followed by play-wrestling and so forth – one in our own training ‘cabin’ when we can guarantee they won’t encounter anyone training naked, and the third is a bit flexible. Both fathers are enthusiastic observers, encouraging their sons, and it is all working well. They’re huge fun to teach, being so willing themselves, and they way they try to ‘out-pose’ each other in their training shorts is hilarious.
Slightly less hilarious was a question from Alvin’s father which came out of the blue last week. The other father must have mentioned that his sons were being trained by gay boys with straight kids. In our neck of the woods, such a discovery could have meant the end of the operation: this is not a gay-friendly place here in TN despite having a LGBT club in the High School. The question was put in an odd way: ‘Errol says you’re a homosexual: how does that work with a son who you say is straight?’
Oh dear! Where to start? Do I need to go through the explanation that gayness is not hereditary? Do I need to explain that his son is not in ‘danger’ and that our relationship is purely professional? Do I need to explain that not all homosexuals are paedophiles (and that only a tiny tiny minority would ever contemplate such a course)?
I pushed aside in my mind the vision of everyone training naked alongside the boys in the cabin, and settled for the lamest possible way out. ‘Why don’t you and your wife come round for a meal? You can meet Leo’s mum, and Jaymee’s mum too (she has been helping with training too), and see that we don’t eat small boys for breakfast!’
He accepted my reply as a joke, and seems happy enough, especially after talking some more with Leo and with the twin’s father, who has known us much longer. But I have now let us in for one of those evenings… fingers crossed that it will all go well.
(Gymnasts usually develop excellent chest muscle: that’s British top-ranker Sam Oldham)
We have a week to prepare! Jest better make sure that no copies of those books celebrating our gay love and our adventures into the gay community are lying around…
There is maybe one book I should leave lying around. This is a book long out of print I think, called ‘Working Out With Weights’ by Steve Jarrell and published in 1978. I have quite a thing of collecting old gymnastics and training books, and that one actually comes from Tennessee. Jarrell was Phys Ed coach at Hixson High School (some way west of here) and the book includes the extraordinary statement: ‘Bodybuilders are considered by some to be egotistical and very likely homosexual… the author, in ten years of attending and judging physique contests, has never heard of a homosexual bodybuilder.’ Oh, come on! Gym full of sweaty shirtless men, all working on their muscles and admiring one another… that’s kind of what homosexuality means. Maybe he had to say that in order to get parents in his classes in the Bible Belt to buy the book! Chad’s gym is about 60% gay, I guess. But that does not mean that 60% of the guys are likely to harm young boys (or girls) who are interested in weight training, and I hold the police-check certification to prove that in my case, as any professional coach must.
So there we go. Stevie, Josh and Alvin the ‘not Chipmunk’ are all starting out on the fitness trail. Not bodybuilding as such – I don’t promote that – but definitely strength, flexibility fitness and acrobatic abilities to follow. And here we shall enjoy a few more images of the results of that mindset!