Following Rec center etiquette

Erin Walter

As I was chugging my way around the track at the Lied Recreation/Athletic Facility, I was reminded of my biggest Rec center pet peeve — arm-brushers. You know, those speedy runners who brush past your arm then cut so closely in front of you, it seems like you’ll either step on their heels or fall on your face?

I’m not Emily Post, and I’m so far from Miss Manners it’s laughable, but there are certain behaviors at the Rec center that even I feel fit to criticize. Certain people feel that manners and common courtesy at the Rec are not warranted, but after talking with some fellow sweaters at the Rec center, it seems that we all need to brush up on our Rec etiquette.

In addition to arm-brushers, here is an incomplete list of top Rec offenders and how these people can remedy their poor etiquette.

Pack-runners. Unlike a herd of antelope running together for protection, these pack-runners just run together for companionship. Talking and running are great exercise, but on a three-lane track it just doesn’t work. Any more than two people running side-by-side is too many. Pack-runners should try doing one of those Indian runs we used to do in high school track practice where the last person in the single-file line is perpetually sprinting to the front. They could even use a baton and yell “hit!” if they want to feel like a Varsity athlete.

Pack-lifters. These characters come to lift weights together, but spend more time sitting on the bench talking and laughing while other lifters wait in line. If these fellas want to sit and chat, they should sit on the bleachers in the lobby and watch music videos.

Loogy-hockers. Everyone has phlegm. Everyone does not spit it in the drinking fountain. These people do not seem to realize that when lowering one’s thirsty mouth to a drinking fountain, the last thing one wants to see is a pile of stringy saliva. Loogy-hockers should glance to the left when approaching the fountain and spit in the adjoining sink.

Hercules (Herculi). These tough guys and girls try to prove their worth by piling on the weights, making loud grunting noises, lifting the weights one time and then dropping them on the floor triumphantly to the annoyance of other lifters. Maybe if these people were cute little Olympic athletes like the Pocket Hercules from Turkey, it would be different.

Sweat-drippers. One of the main goals of exercise is to work up a sweat, and in the Rec center where the ventilation isn’t exactly top-notch, sweating is going to happen. But when you drip sweat all over the bike, Stairmaster or weight machine you are using, you should wipe it off. The Rec center has towels for cleaning the machines, and even spray disinfectant if you want to get really hygienic.

Hot-seats. Several people said their biggest Rec center pet peeve was when they hopped on a stationary bike to find the seat was still warm from the previous rider. Now, as far as I know there’s no way to ameliorate this problem, so we all just better get used to it.

Budgers. We all know what budgers are, but Rec budgers interrupt the work-outs of others by cutting in on their weight machines between sets without asking to work into the rotation. These budgers should try cutting in on the work-outs of the Cyclone football team and see what happens.

Traditionally exercise is about brute force, mind over matter and sweat, but just doing it doesn’t mean one forgets one’s manners when heading to the Rec center. I must admit, sometimes when working-out, etiquette seems pretty insignificant. But we should remember the things that bug us while we work-out and try not to do those things to other people. And the next arm-brusher who comes my way might just get an elbow in the face. But that would be rude, wouldn’t it?

Erin Walter is a senior in journalism and mass communication from Urbandale.