Continued from Part 1…
I couldn’t just leave the car there, I thought. The car is a lemon, but I could at least give myself a chance to get lucky.
Maybe the engine has cooled off and it’ll start again.
Maybe I can get it fixed somewhere.
Shit, maybe the seller will answer the phone when I call him and he will make good and give me a better-performing car.
The college-off car did start, and I made it home by a little after midnight by going light on the gas pedal.
I called the seller the next day and to my surprise, he answered. He was very cooperative when I told him about the wagon; he actually sounded experienced in having buyers call and report issues with cars. I gave him the address where the car was parked at and he had it towed away. He told me to meet him at the title spot later that day and he’d give me a different car.
The white Chevrolet’s passenger side door didn’t work, but the engine worked just fine. I kept that car for a whole year.
[I took a girl out once in that Chevy and had pulled up to her house at the end of the night. I looked at her and she kept looking at me. I thought maybe she was exacting a kiss, but I wasn’t feeling like a kiss. Turned out she needed me to let her out of the driver side door.]
Finally with a working vehicle, I was about two weeks of budgeting away from being able to join LA Fitness. LA Fitness offered a two-week trial membership on their website though, so I printed the pass and drove to the gym. I could get started on shaking the rust from my game.
Gym salespeople don’t like free pass holders. This I would later learn in earnest when working at Bally.
LA Fitness’ pass fine print requires the pass holder to take a tour of the gym and be pitched on buying a membership. I took the tour and passed on the membership pitch of the not-good sales guy, but as the salesperson prepared my temporary membership, the manager of the gym came in and informed me that my two-week pass included everything except use of the basketball court.
For insurance purposes, he explained.
I don’t think the manager, an Asian guy, really gave a damn about an insurance liability. I think he was just salty about being unable to flip my pass into a membership sale and wanted to make things as inconvenient as possible for me (my future gym managers were equally dick-ish to pass holders who refused to be sold on memberships).
I left the gym that day after a long argument with the manager. I called the district manager who had jurisdiction over that location and complained about the whole situation.
I came back to the same location a few days later with my same pass, prepared to work out on my body, minus the basketball court. The same dickhead manager from before saw me sitting with his salesperson and interrupted our conversation.
Because things had gone so poorly on my first visit, he said, how about we make good with an even better offer to join LA Fitness today?
The only thing different about this time was that I had more money in my account.
I joined LA Fitness.
Small problem that day: I had only packed my off-court workout sneakers, a pair of Bo Jacksons I’d purchased with my employee discount at Foot Locker.
That plus my rustiness would make for a bad combination on the basketball court, as I found myself in a heated battle with a baby-faced white boy in a pickup game that same day. I beat him, but it wasn’t as easy as it should have been for a player who was expecting to sign a professional basketball contract any day.
With my work schedule offering Tuesdays and Thursdays off, LA Fitness became my home away from home for the next six months.
I’d get there in the morning and practice alone on the basketball court. Then lift weights for an hour. Then upstairs to the cardio area, where I’d ride an exercise bike for an hour while reading a magazine. I’d walk across the street to the McDonald’s or Wendy’s for lunch, then sit at one of the gym’s juice bar tables until I saw the basketball court begin to fill up — it was around 5pm by this point. An evening of pickup games, then home to prepare for work the next day.
That was my life for six months.
This story didn’t make the book, but a lot of others did — read (or hear) about them all in Work On Your Game: Using The Pro Athlete Mindset To Dominate In Sports, Business and Life on February 22. Here are all the free bonuses you get for ordering before the release date.