The Bar…Method

I’m pretty damn excited.  No, no, no my dear friends, it is not because my body is molding into that of a young Adonis. It is because aces and catchers report for duty today and the quest for universal domination by the world-famous Philadelphia Phillies is underway yet again.  I was raised on baseball.  Some of my earliest memories consist of lazy summer days at my first home in Upper Darby, Pa, the watchful eye of my grandfather full of hope for his first grandson.  The humidity, the smell of summer grass, the flat sound of the ball game coming from his little, light green transistor radio.  Even writing these lines I can feel the love and comfort that surrounded me in those days.

My grandfather teaching me to throw in my little Phillies gear.

As I grew up and turned into a little pain in the ass, I left sports.  I stopped playing, I stopped watching, I stopped caring.  This continued through my college years and on to California.  Once here, I was alone.  Shit, my phone went from ringing 30 times on a Saturday night at Penn State to about one call a weekend, and that was from my mom.  I had left everything I knew, everyone I knew.  The first year was real hard out here, and we were real poor.  We used a cooler as a refrigerator for our first nine months and that was usually filled up with box-o-wine because it was like five bucks for five gallons.  Sunset blush, still my favorite.  Anyway, the Phils came to town that August right around my birthday and we got tickets.  The game was great, we lost 8 to 10 I think, but the people were what made it.  All of the sudden, on a beach 3000 miles away from home, I was surrounded by Philadelphia.  For those few hours I didn’t feel so awkward, didn’t feel so far away.  The stands were flooded with red, the F bomb thrown back and forth in unison with the baseball, beer sloshed and dogs downed; I was at the Vet, or at least it felt like I was. This is when I came back to the Phillies.  I found that even though I’m so far from home, the Phillies, the team, the game, can take me back to South Philly every night.  These days, my brother and I discuss the games nightly with the passion that only comes from an East Coast fan.  Shit, my little California wife can name all the field players and the starting rotation.  The last few years of my Poppop’s life I could tell he was happy that I had come back to the team.  He was old and weak now but would light up when I brought up the Fightin’s with him.  He lived long enough to see them win the World Series in 2008 and in true Philly fan fashion told me that “It’s about damn time.” So today we start. For a blue-collared town, and a blue-collared boy: Let’s go Phils!!

Now let us get down to business.  First, as promised, here is the video of me at Trent’s death circuit last month.  Please remember when watching that I had gotten some of my Africa shots the night before and I was rung up.  Click here to see me dying at Mitchell Fitness.

As part of our Valentine’s day weekend my beautiful wife invited me to go to her workout at The Bar Method. This is a workout loosely based around ballet with a major focus on your core muscles.  It was “bring your boyfriend to Bar Method day” and Katherine wanted me to join her.  I was a little hesitant.  Ballet?  No Natalie Portman? She sold me by saying, “It’s in Hermosa — there will be tons of eye candy.” Ah, not only my wife, but my best friend.  I was in.

Upon arrival I noticed that three other guys had been somehow suckered in as well. We took our spots next to a wall made of windows and did some light stretching.  I looked around, how hard could this workout be?  The heaviest girl in here was no more than 125 lbs or so.  Katherine instructed me to get some small weights for the arm warm-up.  Three or four pounds will be good, she said as I walked away.  As I strode in my socks to the front of the room to collect my weights, I noticed that one of the other guys had a San Francisco Giants beanie on his head.  Like the scar of Harry Potter, my red Phillies hat began to burn.  Now Nico, I found out his name during the class, was about 30 pounds heavier than me and, once I saw that hated beanie, became my mortal enemy.  I looked at the four pound weights he had chosen for his warm-ups and rolled my eyes.  Their fans are just like their team, weak. I proudly grabbed the five-pound weights and walked back to my spot. Bridget, our instructor walked in and warmed us up.  She was a pretty blonde, our age, and her and Katherine used to work together a few years ago at a restaurant.  This was great, spending some time with my wife, exercising, a pretty teacher, God, this was a workout?

Then it began.  We started with the damn weights and about two minutes in my arms were killing me.  Why the hell did I pick the five pounders, damn you Nico! Now I am a pretty good athlete, but I could hear Katherine giggling behind me as I tried to get the coordination down between my legs, my feet, and those damn weights. We moved from the weights into some leg stretches and shit.  Holy crap, I was 15 minutes in and my Phillies hat was soaked.  The room is lined with windows, open that shit up.  Bridget, who started out as a little pretty angel, had turned into the devil in spandex. Only 20 more of those, she would say.  20 more?  We just did like 10 and I am about to pee myself.  Are guys even able to do this? Bridget kept saying, Listen to your body. Shit, my body hadn’t been speaking to me since the weight warm-up fiasco. We used the bar a lot to stretch and hold and hurt.  I could hear some of the other guys cursing and at one point the guy behind me was hanging his tongue out to the side of his mouth like a tired dog.  Katherine was enjoying every second of my suffering; every time the music would slow I would ask her if this was the “cool down” part.  When in a position Bridget would nonchalantly walk by me and raise my leg a foot higher than my body approved of.  Holy shit, The Bar Method was an hour of pain.  All the girls were so flexible, it was us guys, us athletes, that were broken.  In the end, I had a new found respect for my wife’s workout.  Her and Bridget smiled as I crawled across the room towards the exit.  They were both great, the class was great and taught me that ballet and girly workouts are no joke.

Training for Black Swan 2


8 Responses to “The Bar…Method”

  1. 1 Stephanie Sheldon
    February 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Hi Mike, I could read your blog everyday for the rest of my life. I love that you have the most awesome wife ever and you are brave enough to even try bar class! Please turn this “sober experience” into a novel on growing up for men across the world. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & Katherine 🙂

  2. 3 Victoria Normington Pound
    February 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    HILARIOUS, Michael Crowley! I loved reading this. lol. cracked up. I love the barre method! Please tell your lovely wife hello for me!

  3. February 17, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Very “Ballzie” stuff for a Phill’s fan MC! I can see why the hits are coming on strong for you. Keep up the great work. I’m always here to kick your ass son.

  4. February 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Ha! I’m glad I could provide you with some motivation during the torturous hour!

    First off… no hard feelings about the NLCS- it could have gone either way. Besides, you had your big year, so let the little guys get their day! I’ve been waiting my whole life for that title!!! I’ll be the first to admit that repeating will be nearly impossible (however, my fingers are crossed- as long as LA doesn’t advance farther than SF)
    Secondly, I’m glad we both survived the bar method with our dignity intact ( I purposely warmed up with the 4 pounders to test the waters).

    Do I really have 30 lbs on you?!? I’ll have to cut down on the craft beer…

    • 6 MC
      February 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      Dude, you are cracking me up! That bar class was torture! When all was said and done I was happy for SF and the NL. Let me know if you are ever going to try bar again, I am thinking about it. Who knew 4/5 pound weights could feel like 100.

      As for the 30lbs, I think I exaggerated a little for dramatic effect. I’m still laughing out loud about your comment. Thanks for reading the blog and let me know if your ever going again and I’ll try to meet up.

  5. 7 Phil Dunlap
    April 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm


    Thanks for coming over to the house the other day. Its always a pleasure to see you; but given the BlackSwan2 pic, I think Elena and I may have missed the show and some of your hidden talent.

    Maybe we can get a pre- / post-rehersal showing at this Sunday’s get-together. (?)

    Hummmm, you know what? I think Elena may have costumes in the attic. These were those used by L, K (your bride), and N for Halloween and parties. There are costumes of animals, aliens, piano recitals, ballet tutu’s …….. ( ‘Lightbulb-click’) What size are you?

    Happy to be your Father,
    with love,

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