I go to the hotel gym--a stuffy room that smells of moldy socks and Pine Sol--and this father comes in with his daughter--he's wearing a gray sweat suit and giant white tennis shoes, and his daughter is tiny, maybe twelve, all bones, with long braids and a yellow Nike outfit--yellow down to the shoes. The father guides her over to the treadmill and programs the machine for her. "You'll be running three miles at six minute pace, okay Jane?" Obediently the girl gets on the machine and starts to run--bang, bang, bang. I swear she sounds like an elephant. Then she starts adjusting the machine. "Don't slow it down!" the father shouts. The girl continues without looking at him: bang, bang, bang. "Jane! Did you slow the treadmill down?" Bang, bang, bang, bang. The noise is deafening. This goes on for a while: the father shouting, the girl banging. Suddenly the girl stops and turns off the machine. "You aren't finished?" the father asks, placing his hands on his hips.
"I don't feel good," the girls says, looking down at her yellow shoes.
"Okay," the father sighs, shaking his head with disgust. After she leaves, he turns to me. "My girl has real talent. Did you see her run?"
"I heard her," I say. "And you." He laughs.
"All I need is a motivator. Any suggestions?"
"I don't know . . . a whistle?"
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