The Fantasy Heroes’ Training Center

Filling a Gap in Physical Fitness: The Fantasy Heroes’ Training Center

The situation:

If we’re going to include a facility for physical fitness training in our community center, I propose that we do something different. There are plenty of school sports programs, tracks, and fields. There are summer sports leagues. There are tennis courts and basketball courts in the parks. There are golf courses and swimming pools. There are gyms, workout centers, and martial arts dojos.

Still, a lot of people don’t get much exercise. I think the problem is that all these forms of exercise simply aren’t enjoyable for them. Playing competitive sports can be a miserable experience if you’re not at least moderately good at them. Trying to get in shape with most exercises is doubly difficult when you’re dying of boredom as well as physical exertion. I think we need something that offers fun new physical challenges that individuals can enjoy at their own pace.

Signs of the way to go:

Obstacle courses have become popular through shows like American Ninja Warrior, and a growing number of people are participating in cross-country courses with obstacles such as the Spartan Race. These are highly competitive and very demanding, but they suggest that more people would like to try something easier. I believe that with the knowledge and creativity of people attracted to the Dreamer’s Workshop, we could create a wonderful playground for all ages and abilities.

Starting out:

It would be cheap and easy to start with using cones and lines (with chalk, paint, or tape) to lay out slalom running courses on a field or floor. They could even be wheelchair-accessible. This technique could also be used to create mazes where users could exercise their minds as well as bodies, perhaps even taking their time and enjoying spiritual contemplation as they have a good walk.

We might add various targets for the many kinds of soft plastic toys users could bring, from plastic throwing stars to blowguns with rubber-tipped darts and on up to splat guns and target rifles with plastic ammo. Soft obstacles and punching bags could be made relatively cheaply by placing old rolls of carpet and padding in heavy-duty plastic bags and placing those inside cloth bags.

Full implementation:

With a permanent physical facility, we could do much more. Artificial rocks attached to a wall could make a safe horizontal climbing wall. We could borrow some ideas from playground “playscapes” and equipment. We could have a room dedicated to “super” exercises. Using simple physics involving levers, pulleys, balance beams, adjustable counter-weights and such, we could simulate the ability to raise large, heavy objects or to defy gravity. Computer and video technology could simulate the ability to run at super speed or fly like a bird. Large balls and old carpet tubes could provide the basis for “Super Asteroid Ball.”

One room could combine obstacle course ideas with punching bags and targets to provide a complete fantasy hero training adventure! If we had a very large space, increasing the challenges’ difficulty from one end to another would allow members to progress at their own comfort level.

All of these are optional and perhaps just a hint of what might be possible. There’s no telling what exciting ways of exercising our bodies we might devise if we put our heads together.

I was born in 1960, raised in a family of fundamentalist Christians (I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior as a child). A bookworm, dreamer, and nerd, I loved my faith and also science, fantasy, imagination, creativity — I could never settle on who I was and what I wanted to do, and never seemed to fit in anywhere. The Musement Park is meant to be as close as possible to a theme park on the planet I seemed to come from.

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