Courtsports Athletic Club
4242 Commerce St
Eugene, OR 97402

In Shape Fitness
2681 Willamette St, Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 687-2200

You. Fetch me my copy of the Wall Street Journal. You two, Courtsports Athletic Club and In Shape Fitness, fight to the death.

Courtsports Athletic Club

So, a while back I decided to sign up for a fitness club membership. Mainly to do some light weightlifting and run on the elliptical 3-4 times per week. Checked out the options online and settled on these two candidates. Courtsports is much closer to my house, so I contacted them first by email for a 3 day guest pass. On their website, they have a longish list of exclusions and rules for this guest pass, but that did not deter me. I filled out the web form and pressed send. Waited a few days, but nothing received back. Filled out the form again, pressed send, and again nothing received back. Finally I called them to ask what’s up. The person on the phone said they were having trouble with their website, but no problem, just come in and ask for a guest pass anytime.

Next day, I headed out to Courtsports in the morning. At the front desk, they asked me for my guest pass confirmation email, so I explained the story and what I was told on the phone. The youngish staff member paused, thought for a moment, and told me to wait for the manager/owner. A minute or two later, said middle-aged female approached me. We went through the same question & answers:

Her: How can I help you?
Me: I’d like a guest pass, so I can try out your club before I sign up for a membership.
Her: Do you have your confirmation email from the website?
Me: No, I never received one. But I called in and the person on the phone told me the website form was broken but that I should come on in anytime. I brought a copy of my electric bill to prove my residence in Eugene.
Her: (pause)…………………………….(ten seconds elapse)……………………(she gives me a long look, up and down)…………….
Her: Weeeellllllll, it’s really against our policy to give a guest pass without the email confirmation…..sooooo….
Me: I understand, but someone in your office told me it would be ok. I can’t get the email confirmation because they said there is a problem with your website.
Her: (pause)
Her: OK, I will make a special exception this time. (proceeds to take a paper card out of the drawer and write my name on it. Viola! This little piece of paper is the mysterious and difficult to achieve Guest Pass. [angels sing])

What’s the big deal about a ten second pause, you ask? Try it. Stop everything you are doing right now and stare at

    this

word for ten seconds.

How did that feel? Like a really really long time, right? Now imagine a stranger staring at you for that same amount of time. That’s my first and lasting impression of Courtsports. No good. But let’s take a look at the club anyways.

The weight machines are all upstairs in the carpeted area, whereas the big strong man free-weights are downstairs in an area with a rubber floor. And there we have problem number one: The weight machine area stinks. As in smelly stinks. Sure, it’s not limburger cheese smelly, but there definitely is an underlying stank playing consistently at about 15% “volume”. And they are not likely to ever get all of that smell and sweat out of that carpet. So…No good.

Hopped on the elliptical and gave it a spin. Whir, whir, whir, clunk, whir, whir, whir, clunk. WTF?! This machine needs some serious maintenance. Tried another of the same species of elliptical (Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer). Whir, whir, whir, grrrrr, whir, grrrr, whir, zzzzzrrrrr. OK, I’m seeing a pattern now. These machines are not well taken care of. There are only three of this type of machine here, so 2/3’s of them are crappy and 1/3 of them is always being used by someone when I arrive. No good.

OK, so I jump on and start peddling anyways; maybe I will get used to the noise and vibration after a while (no). Time to watch a little TV while I listen to music on my iPod. What is this on ALL the TV’s?! Effing Fox News! Gah! Definitely, no good.

Now that I realize the political leanings of this place, the front counter treatment makes more sense. In my experience, “conservatives” who watch Faux News are extremely paranoid and filled with anger. They always think that someone has cheated them or is about to cheat them. Hence, a nicely dressed person asking for a guest pass is treated first and foremost as a suspect rather than a potential new member.

You can probably guess where this deathmatch is headed…

In Shape Fitness

In Shape doesn’t have an online form for requesting a guest pass, but they do suggest you drop them an email if so interested. I did just that, asking for a three day guest pass. Got an email back the same day from the owner telling me to “come in anytime”. She also suggested that I should get a week long guest pass instead of just three days. Good.

Went over the next morning and met the front desk person (Justin). With a minimum of fuss, he issued me a one week guess pass (laminated card). Then he showed me around the club. First thing I noticed was the floor in the weight machine area. Nice non-smelly non-absorbent rubber. The air also smelled great. Not perfume-y but nice & fresh. The whole place is spotlessly clean. Good.

All three of the fancy ellipticals work great (Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer). Very smooth as if they were brand new. (A few months later, they added an actual brand new one, so now they have four of them). Good.

TV viewing: CNN, ESPN, and NBC. No Fox. Good.

Owner: Freakishly hot. Distracting. But good.

Fight Action

In Shape kicks sand in Courtsports’ face, then pummels it but good. Then In Shape reaches down Courtsports’ throat and rips out their spinal cord. Like Nuoza did to that dragon. What, no? Never mind. In Shape is declared the winner by spinal cord removal TKO! Five stars.