Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail. It was sent to the studio with no return address and no name or signature. When I read it, the hairs on my neck felt like they had been set ablaze because I was so shocked by the audacity of its author. The letter reads:
Please do yourself and your business a favor and stop bringing politics into your gym and workout sessions.
There are those of use [sic] who couldn't care less what your political views and opinions are.
Several of us are also considering changing workout places. It is no good business practice. There are residents who refuse to join Fit Club because of your social media commentaries.
Please keep in mind that we come to work out, period."
Now, I have heard rumblings about politics before and after classes. And on a day like November 9th, 2016, there have been instances where students have been unable to get through a day without expressing some level of shock, dismay, or surprise.
That said, at Fit Club we do not and have never used anyone's class time to discuss or debate politics. I sincerely doubt this author has even been a member of our Club, as it could be the only explanation for the mis-characterization of how things run here.
While reflecting on this for a bit, I'd played devil's advocate. It had occurred to me that this person may just really not wish to confront me in person or by email or telephone. But reading the passive aggressive undertone about the nameless, faceless group this author claims, anonymously, to represent? Nope.
I can only assume this author is taking umbrage with views expressed on my personal social media profile that may be at odds with their own. I have no problem with dissenting opinions or views. As a strong supporter of the First Amendment, I respect that everyone is entitled to their own and it is not anyone's place to force theirs onto others. But hiding behind an anonymous letter in hopes of some way suppressing, intimidating, or scaring me (or anyone else!) is not going to work. I will not stand for it.
I do not for one moment believe that anyone who cares about me or my livelihood would express their concern in this manner. Our community is incredibly diverse and runs the gamut of differing views and opinions, but the one common thread is the deep respect we have for one another. No one student or coach is more or less valued than any other. Just as we never seek to intimidate new students or the uninitiated fitness goer, our community welcomes anyone and everyone to come as they are and leave our Club feeling stronger, fitter, and more empowered.
I understand the risk that business owners assume when making their political views known, which is why I do not typically discuss them with people I have met through the Club. Does that mean I am not going to "get political" at times? Absolutely not! There are going to be political issues that affect me and the people I care about deeply and I will use my agency as an active member in my community to affect changes that I feel make for a better, strong community. Will I use class time or the Fit Club social media pages to do that? Hell no! But let some shitty ass letter like this one go unchecked? No fucking way!