A few Memory Fragments on Father Lange's Gym

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A few Memory Fragments on Father Lange's Gym

Postby allenlsack » 02 Jun 2010 0927

In mid winter, I spent hours in Father Lange's gym, a facility that lacked amenities like showers and locker rooms. Guys would relieve themselves in an exposed urinal not far from the only water fountain. There were no sophisticated weight machines, only free weights, dumb bells, benches, and primitive pully-like devices on the walls. As far as safety was concerned you were on your own. I remember two guys who were spotting for Paul Costa while he was struggling to lift several hundred pounds off of his chest just walking away as a joke. They ultimately came back to save him. Part of the reason Paul could not save himself was because he was laughing so hard. I was often in awe of the guys bench pressing over 300 pounds and spent my time on the periphery of the area where really heavy lifting was going on.

In the winter, the gym attracted a gritty assortment of athletes and other students intent on transforming their bodies before spring arrived. My clearest memories of the gym are its spartan wooden interior, the hissing and clanging of radiators, the sound of iron weights slamming together, the grunts of lifters trying to squeeze out one more rep, and of course Father Lange who I assumed must have arrived at Notre Dame well before Rockne did. For me he was an imposing figure, someone I would only approach with trepidation. After a workout, wind-driven snow often pelted my face as I opened the door, descended the icy steps, and made my short walk back to St. Edwards Hall. Those trips to the gym were my first introduction to serious weight lifting. I view Father Lange and his gym as an important part of my Notre Dame experience and an integral part of Notre Dame's traditions

Allen Sack (67)
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Joined: 03 May 2010 0927

Re: A few Memory Fragments on Father Lange's Gym

Postby ironman » 04 Jun 2010 0927

a pleasure to have a respected author in his own Write adding to our board, welcome allen. one of the tests of good writing is whether you can visualize what is described, and the gym stuff in this piece is easy, having been there and done that a thousand times; but allen's remembrance of the ice and snow on those steps, well, it transported me for a second; i could feel the blast of frigid air upon leaving the gym, sweat freezing on my exposed face in the cruel indiana winter, scurrying quickly across to st. ed's back door. yes, transcendentally transported. just for a second.

which is all i ever ask of pen and ink.
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Joined: 26 Aug 2010 0927

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