As I walked down the narrow hallway leading out of the locker rooms in the Mercyhurst Rec Center, I finally found a word to describe the scent assaulting me.
Salami. It smelled like rotten salami.
All those years of sweat, pain, perseverance, and it reminded me of a fermented lunch meat.
Sighing, I turned on my headphones, and emerged onto the gym floor.
It was fairly crowded.
This was the first week of the semester, and all the students had flocked back to the Mercyhurst Rec Center like migratory birds, huddling for warmth.
They all made the same pact with either themselves or others.
The tried-and-true New Year’s resolution to go to the gym and work out had brought loads of students through the doors of the Mercyhurst Rec Center.
“New year, new me!” I, along with other students, was determined to stick to this mantra.
With this thought in mind, I started my workout, skipping my treadmill warm-up, as they were all taken.
Miraculously, I used all the leg-machines without having to wait in a line.
However, there was a looming issue.
The only squat rack was occupied by one woman for over half an hour, and all the free-weight sections were equally as full.
With work calling, I had to abandon the last portion of leg-day, and head back to the locker room.
But, not before dodging the entire women’s lacrosse, basketball, softball and volleyball team, with an added bonus of the men’s basketball team.
As I got changed, I told myself that I cannot be angry at newcomers for trying to better themselves.
Sure, more than a few will disappear soon, but a portion will stay for the remainder of the semester and hopefully longer.
This makes the jostling for control of the next open treadmill worth it.
In the very busy locker room, I witnessed two students trying to coerce a bookbag out of a locker.
The door seemed rusted and stuck shut.
I felt compelled to help, but there were already three people prodding it with a broom.
I decided to just get dressed instead, grabbing my clothes out of the locker — which had a hole in it, showing the locker below.
After the careful dance of getting changed in such a small place, I departed.
As I strode out, I saw a man drenched in sweat on the seated bike.
He paused, as if going to stop, but slapped on a face of determination and kept moving.
How can anyone be upset at that display of grit?
Pushing through with determination to finish out a workout is truly the embodiment of a New Year’s resolution.
I just wish he wouldn’t have to smell salami after walking away triumphant.