Post #5: Genre
In his essay “On Genres as Ways of Being,” Paul Heilker writes that “like any technology, genres both assume about and require things of their users” (24). In other words, the concept of genres, in terms of both literature and being, are created around the specific needs of their users or readers, but they also require their users or readers to conform or act a different way to a certain extent in order to be able to appropriately utilize them.
This way of thinking definitely helped me to see the rec center in a different light, as a “genre.” I noticed how it’s definitely built and designed to fit the needs of its users by providing an extensively wide variety of areas for exercise, such as a pool, track, two weight rooms, a cardio room, a rock wall, and many other rooms and resources for student athletes.
However, when you come here, you have to follow a handful of guidelines in order to use the rec center to its full potential. You should be wearing appropriate clothes for exercise. You should be fairly able-bodied, at least enough to be capable of using some of the equipment. You need to either be a student at WWU or, if you’re a community member, pay a price to use the facility.
Obviously, in order to come here regularly, you need to live in Bellingham. It wouldn’t make much sense to live in an outside town (or heaven forbid, another state. Are you crazy?) and expect to make this your regular gym. It’s just not logical.
The rec center is an athletic facility. Like I said earlier, it would make the most sense to come here expecting to work out and be wearing some sort of athletic clothing. Getting the full potential out of your time here would be difficult if you weren’t wearing appropriate clothes, and so as a “way of being,” the “genre” of the Wade King Rec Center requires its users to generally conform to this specific standard.
Going along with the points that I brought up earlier, the rec center generally requires its users to be able-bodied to some degree. Plenty of people come here for physical therapy or related reasons, or they just design their workouts around their personal abilities. However, it would be VERY difficult for a paraplegic with no hope of recovery to come in here and expect to be able to productively utilize most of the resources that the facility provides.
Finally, although there are a huge variety of activities that you can use the rec center for, there are only so many things that are able to be done here. For example, you can’t walk in here with your horse and expect to play polo without causing a considerable disruption and most likely getting a good talking-to by some university authorities. The facility assumes that its users will visit with the intent of doing the activities for which it provides rooms and equipment, but it also requires that its users have enough common sense to not do stupid stuff like bringing a horse. To an indoor gym. To play polo. I’m done now.