dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

Mt. Tam barely glimpsed from Mt. Tam Racquet Club, Larkspur

Mt. Tam’s peaks are barely visible in the frame of trees on the distant ridge in Larkspur. I snapped this one an angle of the Mt. Tam Racquet Club stopped me in my tracks, but I wasn’t quite able to capture its depth in this picture.

Seems to me, the club has been here for as long as we lived in the area. There is no “about” page on the club’s site to help fill in the history it might have had. Still, its presence has been a constant in more was than just physical, so to speak. We joined maybe 6 or 7 years ago. Some years we went a lot. Others, well, we just paid our monthly membership dues.

We don’t play tennis, which is the primary draw of this club. We don’t pay for that privilege either, having opted for a fitness and pool membership only. Which has been plenty, since the club offers a huge variety of fitness classes, from lively Zumba to the mellowest of yoga, as well as classes tailored for seniors with brittle bones. But I don’t want to sound like some lame marketing brochure.

The truth is that the club has been there for me, like the welcoming home of a favorite relative, where you are always welcome and where, more importantly, the familiar breeds content … yes, a form of happiness that comes from steadiness. I’ve been the prodigal fitness buff at times, going off to join a couple of trendy new places that came and went through the years, but I always return to Mt. Tam Racquet Club … and I am always welcome there, it seems, by the same staff, too!

The club has never been flashy or trendy. And yet, it has covered the latest in fitness and health tips for its members. The fact that most of its health and fitness staff has been there for as long as I have been a member says something about the culture of the place. As does the fact that one often sees parents and their teen-aged children work out side by side. The same teen-aged children that used to splash in the pools as kids.

I remember going to a lecture on nutrition a couple of years ago and talking to an older woman as we were waiting for the speaker to start. She told me that she had been recently widowed and that she was devastated. She said that the club has been a safe heaven, a godsend that has helped her stay connected. I told her about my broken ankle and the extra 50 pounds I carried on my frame before we joined and how the yoga classes helped me connect to the body lost within the body I grew around it.