On Monday I received an unwelcome surprise. My club’s manager told me that on November 14th construction would begin to turn our throwing facility into a skatepark. I was a bit in shock even if the news was not a complete surprise. A year and a half ago the city cleared the final legal hurdle to move forward with this project. We were first told that construction would begin last October. Then we were told May. And finally we were told it would start this October. With the month almost over and no sign of surveyors or bulldozers on the horizon I was starting to feel invincible, like a cancer patient who has lived decades after his doctor gave him just a month to live.
To make matters worse, I was scheduled to leave Zurich on Wednesday and return on the 14th. That meant I had exactly one day left to train at the Allmend. This year was just my second season training full-time in Zurich, but I felt a close connection to the ring from the beginning. Around 90% of my training sessions are alone. With ten training sessions a week, I quickly grow a close connection to the unique location. And why wouldn’t I? The Allmend can be as comforting as teammates. The ring is nestled between the base of the Uetliberg and the Sihl river. To the north is a small handball arena where I do my weight lifting. To the south are nearly a dozen soccer fields and the training grounds for FC Zurich. All around are open public spaces filled with joggers, dog walkers, and mountain bikers. If you look over the trees, you can even catch a glimpse of the alps. The hammer facility has everything we need: two rings, a concrete slab for drills, couple of boxes for equipment, and 95m of landing area. There is no track, and no one else from our club around. When I show up every morning, the solitary surroundings make it is easy to focus.
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