There it is, Snap Fitness, 145 North Main St., Cedar City, Utah where Southwest Parkinson’s Fitness (SWPDFit) calls home. The false façade and aluminum door frame on the street side of the building have little to say about the story of the rugged indomitable people who erected it in 1927. Go around to the rear of the building and you’ll see exactly what kind of toll 95 years of cold subalpine winters, high desert summers and a never-ending wind can take on a structure. The weathered, pock-marked bricks held together by crumbling, straining mortar give their own testimony to resilience and the will to keep it together no matter the odds.
Go ahead, have a look inside. Your eyes are immediately drawn aloft. You know it will be a long few minutes before you can wrest your gaze away from the rough sawn beams and joists bearing the deep scars from the sawmill blade and your mind travels back in time to the perilous journey, bringing logs from the mountain to the sawmill, then to their final place of repose…the building you are now standing in. It’s not quite what one might expect for a modern day gym. There are no wall to wall mirrors, juice bars or tanning beds. Just a generous supply of machines intended to isolate pretty much every muscle group in your body and an abundance of free weights. And then there’s the place you go to hear the loud crack of leather on leather as a boxing glove strikes the worn leather of the heavy bag. Again…CRACK, Again…CRACK, and Again… This blended with the groan and rattle of the old style steam radiators gives you a sense of comfort, even familiarity, that you have been in this scene before. It’s that “tried and true” place where wisdom meets experience, it’s the “old school.” Your vision quickly vanishes by the clang of an old time boxing bell and the chorus of a dozen people shouting “FIGHT BACK…FIGHT BACK.”
Welcome to Southwest Parkinson’s Fitness.
Shirtless, I wipe the steam off the bathroom mirror and my gaze momentarily locks on to the eyes staring back at me. The words from the song “Amanda,” comes to the surface: “I look in the mirror with total surprise at the hair on my shoulders and the age in my eyes. ”Dripping, water forms into little rivulets as it follows the furrows formed by wrinkles, scars and blemishes that I tell myself weren’t there last year, and as the dripping water detours across my chest it is traversed by a singular prominent scar. A bulging cord in my neck hangs like the support of a suspension bridge tethered to the battery pack for a Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) pulse generator, buried in my chest wall just below my right collar bone. Like this old building I have an abundance of scars, bumps and bruises that are symbolic of having weathered many a storm. Each one has its own story to tell. Get knocked down, get back up again.
Suddenly, I have come to the realization that there is a kinship between all of us at SWPDFit and the building we work out in. It’s perfect. It’s as if the building with its fissures, scars and blemishes has been waiting for us all along [with our fissures, scars and blemishes]. We are long past the vanity of mirrors on every wall and the perfect spray-on tan. We’re fighting for much more than that.
Welcome to Southwest Parkinson’s Fitness
Dan Dail, Founder