I have to preface this blog by admitting it is largely self-serving from the perspective of a 17-year-old version of myself. I was not cool in high school; I was an angst-ridden mess of self-loathing, so of course the poised, beautiful, self-assured cheerleader was my natural enemy.
Several times a week I go to Project Poolside class at Scott Fitness, also known as boot camp class. Because I’ve been going for a few months, I can usually handle the intense, hour-long workout of weight training and cardio fairly well. Unless the Tiny Torturer is instructing.
A 5-foot-tall, bleach-blonde powerhouse of pain and fury, the Tiny Torturer will follow a set of 60 lunges with 30 jumping jacks and 20 pushups and then make you do it again while holding weights and doing bicep curls and lateral raises. You will hurt more than you thought was possible; sweat will bead on your skin like moisture on a mid-summer margarita glass.
Because I ate two full-size Milky Way Midnight bars for lunch, I felt I had no choice but to go to class this evening. After grabbing my weights, I took my usual place at the back of the room.
“Oh fuck,” I thought, noticing a blur of platinum bouncing at the front of the room. “It’s the Tiny Torturer.”
As the class rapidly filled up, I took note of who was around me; I tend to get annoyed with chicks whose weights are larger than mine. But tonight’s culprit was even more loathsome: a skinny brunette with a tight, red, sequined tank top reading “Chiefs cheerleader.”
“Ugh, bitch, stay back,” my awkward high school self groaned from 1999. But as the class filled up, she moved closer.
Then the workout began. Almost immediately I was sweating and dying, choking back the desire to push open the emergency exit, vomit in the parking lot, and take the walk of shame to my car.
“I can’t do this,” I thought. “It’s too hard. I should have eaten more for lunch. Fuck it; I’m leaving.”
Then I noticed it: cheerleader was fading. On the last set of pushups, she quit halfway through to mop her forehead and have a water break.
“Do 20 alternating forward lunges with bicep curls,” Tiny Torturer shouted.
Cheerleader did five, then dropped her puny four-pound weights and waved to her friend.
“Sorry,” she shrugged, and she turned and walked off the floor.
Of course I was fading too, but watching cheerleader give up gave me enough adrenaline to pump my eight-pound weights for two extra bicep curl/lunge combos.
Though outside my face looked like a cherry tomato, inside I was partying like it was 1999 and I was totally planning to skip lunch and smoke cigarettes behind the soccer field. Because, hey, I'd earned it.