Community in Training

The ceremony begins at around 2:45. I drink coffee while organizing my thoughts and the basement. I stroll around the yard and make ready.

Few of my friends near and far can pin down the Bonny Lane Club. It does not have a social media presence or tax ID. It is not advertised, nor is it a secret.

The Bonny Lane Club is a small community built upon a minimalist approach to physical training and athletic performance. It is a handful of like-minded friends and I lifting heavy things, jumping, running, and climbing. We maintain our health, improve our game, have fun, and push the envelop in some spectacular accomplishments in my basement and back yard. On Bonny Lane itself there are sprints and car pushes toward the cul-de-sac.

The Bonny Lane Club is not for everyone. The hours are quite limited, give or take two hours, three days per week. The training equipment is definitely not extravagant, but movement awareness and functional abilities are high. We take improvement seriously, and know the magic found in consistency. Members understand what it means to train with purpose beyond "getting in shape for swimsuit season." They don't mind moving aside a bike or fishing pole, and exercise patience with my children watching and sporadically joining in.

The Bonny Lane club has no contracts. This is not bartering, but I've found that the community clicks much better when everyone contributes something. Those who can pay a little do so. Once in a while I purchase new gear. Someday I may care to replace the warn-out carpeting and dented drywall. Others contribute as they can. Younger Bonny Lane Club members have contributed babysitting, drum lessons for my sons, chickens (not eggs, but living chickens with their gear), and deck staining.

After working as a physical therapist for over 15 years and training others and myself for much longer, I can confidently claim to know my way around fitness goals and trouble-shooting problem areas. My work informs this hobby and my hobby informs my work. This is simply what I do, and it brings me joy and energy. There's no doubt that this is my high calling.

Over the years I've witnessed how physical training in a secure community transforms more than the body. There is far more to this than strength and speed and coordination. We are all works in progress, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Focus and intensity have a way of breaking through any barriers.

While the Bonny Lane Club is not foremost an outreach tool, neither is it all about sets and reps. Through training we get to know ourselves and each other. At times we are too breathless to talk. Other times, we share the meaningful stuff of life. This is not a homogenous group, yet we genuinely care to support each other, to see each other succeed inside and outside of training.

I pray that what I do with my home, interests and abilities confirms what is literally written on the walls.

[This post and the Bonny Lane Club is inspired by the teaching and intentional community of Dan John. Read more about that here.]

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