Sixty-four teams, including one whose members barely knew each other, competed in the recent fitness competition at The J – the March Mayhem Member Challenge.
In the end, Team Trouble – that same team of strangers – came out on top, winning the championship and a free month of membership.
“You can imagine the shock each week that we advanced,” said Therese Bawa, a member of Team Trouble. “Some weeks (we won) by narrow margins, due to another team’s vacationing member. Throughout it all, we all put in the best effort and were just amazed at the progression through the board and the month.”
Health and Wellness Director Susan Kwasny helped organize the tournament, each team made up of four J members.
Every time a member showed up to work out, her team got a chip. Every time the whole team participated in a fitness class it got another. They also got chips for working out with a personal trainer.
So each member could earn up to three chips a day. Two teams went head to head. The one with the most chips over a one-week period advanced.
“While we take our fitness seriously, we also want it to be fun,” Kwasny said. “We need to reward our members because they are here and they are loyal. This was our first initiative, and we plan on doing more.”
Ellen Drake, Beth Ann Rubin, Frida Bianco and Bawa composed Team Trouble, bonding as friends and teammates during the competition.
“Every week was a surprise,” said Drake. “We bested some of the most familiar faces in the fitness center at JCC. The only reason we didn’t win one week was someone went out of town and another fell ill.”
The team just kept showing up, she said, and good things happened.
“We chatted in the hallways beforehand; we high-fived each other afterwards,” Drake said. “It’s amazing how little things like that can form connections between people.”
The ladies met during the tournament, and as Drake explained, their friendship grew as the competition progressed.
“That’s really the biggest takeaway,” she said, “exercise, friendship, healthy choices, and commitment. You really can’t lose when you’re working out and having this much fun.”
Kwasny said she and her staff are planning more competitions, the next one set for late summer or early fall. “In the end,” Bawa said, “I think that the fact that Team Trouble won this year’s March Mayhem is a win for everyone who steps into the Fitness Center, makes a new friend, smiles at another member and says to themselves, ‘let’s make today a healthy one.’ In that way, we’re all winners.”
Spoken like a true champion.