55 minutes in Gerdahallen

55 minutes in Gerdahallen

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@Paula Dubbink

Paula Dubbink has never been much into sports. Now she – somewhat forced – regularly is back in the gym, she might actually have to change her mind set about the phenomenon “sports”.

At a distance of maybe five meters, a guy in a very tight pair of leggings and a green shirt, waves his hands above his head, does something curious with his feet and I try my best to copy him. Usually he shifts into another pattern when I just have gotten the drill. 

I sneak at the clock. It’s 16.25 and I will be in here until 17.10. I already survived the warming-up, and the cooling down takes about ten minutes. That means that there are just 35 minutes left that I have to get through.

I look around at my company today – about twenty-five people, aged 20 to 75 – and I feel a strange sense of connection. All of us have made it to Gerdahallen on a weekday afternoon and managed to get dressed in sports clothing. I might not know them, but I mean, such irrational behavior unites.

My faculty is more or less a neighbor to Gerdahallen, but it was only last fall that I entered the place for the first time. I took a summer of thesis writing resulting in back and neck problems and a physiotherapist subtly hinting that I maybe should move somewhat more, before I ended up where I am now: Gympa2 on Tuesday afternoon.

No, I am by nature not sportive and not embarrassed to admit that. I simply have never understood the whole thing with sports as an organized and planned activity. What is, for example, the point of deciding to meet up several times a week in special clothing to run after a ball and try to kick it into the net of another team? The main result is that you end up sweaty, have extra laundry to do and in worst case you end up in a fight with the other team on who really won.

No, my motto used to be: move a lot, but always with a practical purpose please. I gladly sprint (to catch a train), bike (to get to town), walk (to enjoy the spring weather), but that’s about it.

“Alldeles lysande”, the instructor says after a session of muscle training enthusiastically. “Now we’re going for another round of raising our heart rate.”

“Absolutely brilliant” is not really how I would describe the last five minutes spent on a blue rubber mat discovering the existence of muscles that I usually tend to forget. But I guess he knows best.

Everyone applauds for everyone; the class is over. My body is ready for the shower, my mind has part of the class been too busy with keeping my breath under control to be bothered with tiring thoughts about life – and I have a topic for my column. Did I finally discover the meaning of sport?

At least it feels as I feel like I always do the first hour afterward – quite alldeles lysande.

Next week again.

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