Neon, Aerobics, and Leg Warmers Mark Plex’s ’80s Day

Despite the sweat and fatigue, buoyant and joyous energy floods the spin class room as Madonna and Dexys Midnight Runners blares in the background. Down the hall, clad in neon tank tops and pink head and wristbands, Total Body Conditioning Steppers bop to the beat of the ’80s as they do their cardio moves. No, this is not a scene from Footloose, but Boston College’s own BC Rec celebrating National Recreation Day.

Commemorating the National Intramural Recreation Sports Association’s inception on Feb. 22, every year BC puts on an event to bring awareness to its anniversary. Although most members were born before the era, the Student Staff Advisory Board, which meets monthly to plan improvements for the Flynn Recreation Complex, chose the ’80s as this year’s theme for the event. According to Taylor Palumbo, a member of the board and pool office manager, the theme bridges a gap so that students can understand the era, and employees who lived through it can rock along with the songs.

“Someone threw out the ideas for ’90s, but if this is working out, what decade is most iconic for working out?” Palumbo said. “The ’80s.”

Palumbo spoke about the dedication and effort that went into planning the day as well as what his own experience has been like working at the Plex. Last year, the board decided on a neon theme for the day, but this year, it worked to make the theme more specific and engaging. In addition, after three years on the board, Palumbo believes that it has done a better job of promoting the event this year.

The day consisted of six ’80s-themed spin, x-fit, and zumba classes complete with high-intensity music from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., as well as additional strength competitions from 3 to 6 p.m. consisting of push-up, pull-up, and benching contests. At the classes, participants were given a plethora of free neon tank tops, wristbands, and headbands.

Participants could also send in their best ’80s costume photos in hopes of winning assorted prizes. Burns Library also supported National Recreation Day by posting photos up on its walls of BC students working out back in the ’80s.

“I think the community appreciates what we do, but we really just wanted to take a day to celebrate and bring awareness to it,” Palumbo said.

The BC Rec staff consists of over 400 student staff members who are either at the Plex or Conte Forum daily from 6 a.m. to as late as 1 a.m. While other operations may stop or alter their schedules on a snow day, the Plex was still open on Feb. 9, allowing motivated students to trudge through the snow and toward their fitness goals, despite the bitterly cold conditions outside.

“At BC maybe more than a lot of other schools, campus recreation is so integral to student life, whether that’s club sports, intramurals, or just working out individually,” Palumbo said. “As a way to give back to student employees, the students that use the Plex and everyone else going forward, we’re hopeful that this day can only keep getting bigger.”

Bigger than ’80s hair, per se. While National Recreation Day was a one-day-only event, the committed and avid staff at the Plex make every day look like a great day to break a sweat.

Featured Image Courtesy of Boston College Recreation