Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I spend quite a lot of time at my the local Lifetime Fitness gym. 95% of that time is spent in the basketball courts. Playing majority of the days of the week it's become almost like a seconded home to me (especially since it's open 24 hours). There are two basketball courts that are next to each other, split only by a curtain. The courts are standard hard wood, with only black lines to show where the basic lines are on the court. At first glance you may not know it but the courts are surrounded by glass. On the second level overlooking the courts, the doors, the windows to the parking lot, as well the connecting climbing wall and the racket ball courts that are on either side.
As the you first visit the basketball court area you are usually awed by the size and the number of things you can do in this area. You will could away with a feeling of that you want to come back, this is also aided by the staff that work there since they want you to be happy. Without knowing it they will shove down your throat a sense of belonging, and community. By having so many things for so many age groups (climbing wall, basketball, volleyball, racket ball, day camp for children, ect.) they are saying that everyone should stay as long as they won't and have fun together.
But is this necessarily true? no. With the number of things for people to do it can a actually have the opposite effect. With the many activities going on, they can easily over lap time slots. If a large number of people want to play basketball, but one of the courts is used up by 1/6 the amount of basketball players, then the basketball players will start to feel resentment towards them. The same is true for the volleyball players being harassed. Even the day camps can cause unrest with the majority group in the court area at the time.
With the amount of glass everywhere, the place seems open and inviting at first. But even thought the facility is open 24/7 they really only wish you to be in there during the day. While the courts have lights over them it is much darker at night. Sunlight pours in from all the windows, and the place shines during the day. However when the sun goes down the place becomes dims and dull, with not every activity available, which mean less things to do, and less of a reason to be there. So even though it's a 24/7 gym they really don't want you there 24/7. This makes perfect sense since it would cost them more, and a lot of people sleep at night.