First, big shout out and thanks to Shae for coaching on Saturday.  While you great queerfitters were working it out, I was floating in the waters of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

I first heard of Vieques in the summer of 2001, when Al Sharpton spent 86 days in jail for protesting something happening on the island.  What the press coverage was most interested in was the fact that The Rev had come out of jail 30 pounds lighter than when he’s gone in.  There was little mention of what The Rev had actually been protesting: the Navy’s use of the island 180 days out of the year to practice air-to-shore bombing, ship-to-shore gunfire, warship maneuvers , and large-scale Marine amphibious landings.

Reverend Sharpton’s jail sentence was for trespassing, after he joined residents of Vieques who had forced a stop to the bombing by setting up camp on one of the firing ranges.  The human shield camps were the last tactic of thirty years of resistance by Viequians, including this awesomely great battle won by a handful of fishermen against 2,500 Marines.  The U.S. Navy withdrew for good in the spring of 2003.

Vieques reminded me of, what else?, Queerfit…

  • Forget about losing weight. The real story in August 2001 was about the scrappy Viequians’ imminent victory against U.S. military imperialism, but the media’s focus on Reverend Sharpton’s weight loss missed what was actually important.  Similarly, the focus on losing weight by the mainstream fitness industry loses sight of what’s actually important: getting stronger and increasing mobility.
  • Get outdoors.  True, there’s nary tropical fish nor a bioluminescent bay in the great ATL, but there’s plenty of outdoors here worth your leaving your air conditioned bunkers and breaking a sweat.  This town has great public swimming pools, Oakland Cemetery at dusk, Sweetwater State Park, $7 tickets to Braves games, and Queerfit.
  • No good will come out of doing exercises for show.   Large scale amphibious landings of Marines have been obsolete since the 1970’s, when helicopters took over the job of depositing Marines into battle.  Yet, the U.S. military continued to have thousands of Marines storming the beaches of Vieques, guns blazing, in order to accommodate Hollywood’s requests for action shots. Doing bicep curls and side bends won’t bring you the same bad karma as bombing the hell out of a people’s home island, but why bother doing exercises just for show?  Come get the real thing, 10:00 every Saturday.

And for this Tuesday’s inspiration, I give you 45 year old Dana Torres, less than 1/10th of a second from making the Olympic swim team.  That’s her in Lane 4. Did I mention, 45 years old?  She was 41 when she broke the American record in this event. This would have been her 6th Olympics.