Most people in my Ball Pilates class like to chat. They chat with each other, with the instructor, sometimes with themselves. Well, when a major catastrophe struck the 7am class at the JCA this past month, they did more than chat.
You see, Ball Pilates is our favorite class, and Giovana is our favorite instructor. (I say "our" because we all feel this way.) We come to her classes on M-W-F because she is calm, she is encouraging, she turns the lights down. She has a sweet little accent and a moderate grasp of the English language which occasionally results in her asking us to hold the ball between our "chins" or remember to hold our stomach in when we go to the "stores" later. And she makes us laugh when we're in gut-wrenching pain holding a single-leg squat by singing, "Smiiile!"
About a month ago, Giovana went to Italy to see family for 2 weeks. During this time, Alvin took over. Alvin is loud. He insists that we arrive on time and get down to "business." Alvin plays hip hop music and turns all the fluorescent lights on. Alvin requires us to answer him out loud if he asks the collective a question like, "Can you feel it?" If we don't answer, he'll keep asking. "Can you feel it?! I SAID CAN YOU FEEL IT?!" By the time he's shouting, we're shouting back in anger. "YES. YES. YES ALVIN, WE FEEL IT." He also makes us breathe so that he can hear it, otherwise he doesn't "believe" we're breathing. "I need to hear you BREATHING." Why? Why do you need to hear that?! Just trust us, if someone's not breathing, we'll let you know.
When Giovana came back we were all thrilled. The 5 or 6 people who dropped out while she was gone came back and we were all together again. The Ball Pilates family. And then, before we could celebrate, disaster struck again.
The fitness director decided to "change up" the schedule. I guess she was concerned that the JCA needed to add more variety in the morning. She didn't ask us for an opinion. US, the MORNING group. And she left it to Giovana to break the news. So one dark morning, Giovana announced that Ball Pilates would only be offered on Fridays, regular Pilates would replace the morning slot on Mondays, and Wednesday would become Yoga. The wost part? ALVIN would now be teaching the Wednesday morning class. We were all hysterical.
Flexible lady asked, "What if we don't like Alvin?"
Unitard guy shouted, "I don't like Yoga, that's why I come to Ball Pilates."
Uncoordinated woman smirked to the Fashionista, "I don't get nearly as good of a workout without the ball."
Beer Gut man added, "If it's not Giovana, I'm not coming."
Giovana was obviously trying to hide her upset. She encouraged us that it would be alright, but we didn't believe her. We don't like change. And none of us got a good workout that day. We rushed to the comment box and climbed over top of each other for a sharpened golf pencil and stuffed that box full. That'll show her.
Flash forward to today when the schedule was set to change. We all arrived at 6:45am and Giovana stopped us as we got out the Pilates balls: "No ball today, guys. Just the ring and some weights."
Uncoordinated woman: "No ball?!"
Fashionista: "Oh yeah. That's right. No more ball."
Beer Gut man: "This is unbelievable (tossing mat down on the ground)."
Unitard guy: "Yeah. After all those comments. They don't read them I guess?"
Flexible lady: "Incredible! We all want the ball. Why can't we use the ball?"
Uncoordinated woman: "We're the ones paying. And we want the ball!"
Flexible lady: "You know, Giovana, we all want the ball."
Giovana was clearly torn. And after listening to all of us complain for the first 5 minutes of class, she stood up and announced: "Ok. Let's just make it a ball class today. Does everyone agree?"
We were shocked. Giovana was going to put her job on the line to give us Ball Pilates. We raced for the balls before she changed her mind. Everyone in the room sat down and began to bounce, like little kids THRILLED to have their toys back.
Unitard guy: Now THIS gets my blood flowing.
Uncoordinated lady: It's a better workout, it's a better workout. I already feel it.
Beer Gut man: This is a cleanse for the lymphatic system, you know that?
Fashionista: It's the ball, it wakes you up and gets you ready to work.
Flexible lady: That's right. I sit up straighter and feel longer with the ball.
I think Giovanna made the class especially challenging today just so that we didn't take the ball for granted. And we rose to the challenge. Beer Gut guy actually fell off his ball at one point trying to balance on one leg and we all burst with laughter, including him! Oh Beer Gut, guy! You've got your ball back!
You've got your ball back.