Dear Central Campus Recreational Building,
We’ve been in a committed relationship for a year and a half now. Sure, we’ve had to take our breaks from May to August, but that distance only made our lust stronger and our Welcome Week reunion grander. The highlight of my day is being with you for our hour or two together, and when other people and activities pull me away from you every so often, I am physically and emotionally hurt. You made me stronger than I was before coming to Ann Arbor, and while many home-gym users and “Get Big” bros may complain about your rusty weights and squeaky machines, I know the importance of looking past those things to what really matters. We spent countless hours together as I avoided the Freshman 15, prepared for Spring Break and moved into bikini season. You welcomed me with open arms day after day, through hangovers and sickness, while sweat dripped down my shirt and my matted hair scared all the boys away. I didn’t need anyone else when I had you; in that moment, we were infinite.
But recently, things started to change. I know that this isn’t a monogamous relationship. It’s not just you and I. I didn’t really mind sharing with other dedicated individuals who had a routine and knew their way around you, but every Jan. 1, a slew of “New Year, New Me” tweets, Instagram posts and overzealous Facebook statuses changed the way things were between us.
The lust for Transformation Tuesday Pic Stitches and filter-worthy images of new Lululemon gear brought college students to you in hordes. Parkas filled the airport lockers. Weights were dragged to the crowded halls. Locker rooms became a social destination. Seeing you between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. was the newest form of heartbreak in my life. Lines formed in the hallway as people looked to claim the next open treadmill, elliptical or bike; skinny-armed individuals worked their way around the weight room hoping to look impressive while they pretended to know what the hell they were doing (read: sat and texted on the benches).
I lost my spot on the track that I once took for granted and the maize and blue mat that made core workouts less painful. What was next? Would I lose my cutesy pet name for you — “serb” — to a freshman who didn’t have the same feelings for you as I did?
It’s not that I don’t applaud the effort of the New Year’s Resolution club members. I do. But suddenly having to share the love of my life with so many others is hard, and I know that my fellow gym rats feel the same way. Don’t let the newcomers that visit you — or the NCRB or IM Building, for that matter — forget to treat you with love. Help them get big, reach their “new me” status or post a “woman crush Wednesday” selfie of their hot bod. Things are changing, and we can’t expect the increasing number of University students to share a small space filled with broken machines and no central air. It is important that the University expand you and its other gym facilities so that the growing number of students can exercise and maintain their health while away at school. There should be enough space and machines for everyone to share.
While change can be scary, we need it for our relationship to continue to succeed. I just want things to go back to the way they were between us before. You, me and no lines.
Sarah Kulhanek is a Kinesiology sophomore.