Strolling through my local park I find it once again populated by the usual mix of personal trainers and professional dog walkers. In one corner people are running around with grim, pained expressions on their faces, clearly questioning what the hell they are doing there. They are there because they have already paid a man in short shorts a considerable amount to yell at them for ten one hour sessions.
It reminds me of footy training, just minus the fun or sense of future purpose. What exactly are they training for? There will be no tries scored. There will be no glorious victories. There will be no huddling around, loudly singing the team song in a change room filled with the heady aroma of mud, stale urine and tiger balm.
Sure, some may achieve a vain goal of becoming a tad less tubby but we all know those few kilos will be quickly put back on. Soon the weather will grow colder and hiding under a doona will become a far more attractive proposition than being yelled out by a man in short shorts. It is the very definition of a pointless exercise.
Meanwhile the car park is rapidly filling up with the vans of the professional dog walkers. The precious pups of the rich and lazy quickly jump out, all eager to be in an environment where they won’t get told off for peeing on expensive furnishings.
It seems a little odd. Surely one of the primary reasons for owning a dog is the joy of going for walks with it. You breathe the fresh air, you get some exercise and you get to know the neighbours as their dogs try awkwardly to mount your dachshund.
Perhaps these absent dog owners are too posh to throw slobbery sticks and pick up poo. Maybe they are just working too many hours so they can afford to pay for all those modern day necessities like the dog walker, the mobile dog groomer and the car wash place which serves lattes whilst vacuuming up all the dog hair.
While such outsourcing is now commonplace, brutal cost cutting is also a growing trend. In this light, I believe there is a way to stop people from unnecessarily dolling out dosh for personal trainers and professional dog walkers.
Surely a free service could be developed which matches people who want exercise with dogs in need of a walk. Very unfit people could start by borrowing a fat Labrador and gradually work their way up to running beside a greyhound. It would be fantastic. The dogs would get walked, people would get fit and my park could once again be a park, rather than a place of business.