Minnie Splits, here. The last time you saw me I was reporting live on the scene, bringing you the date of the historic Bergen Games I: BergenMania. I now bring you another update on the most anticipated sporting event of the century. With just one week to go until the first Bergen Games, I gained early access last night to what was once the warehouse of a local plumbing and HVAC company, and now houses the blood, sweat and dreams of soon-to-be champions.
After the work day was done, the company’s warehouse was converted to a full-fledged arena for the games. Furnace and air conditioning units lined the perimeter, shelves of shining silver fixtures, and various nuts and bolts caught the fading twilight, a reminder that this space still functioned as one of the Cedar Valley’s top plumbing and HVAC companies from 8:00–4:30, Monday-Friday.
The technicians were insatiable. There long after their last service call or install of the work day, they attacked the training equipment pulled into place each night. Punching bags, treadmills, and half-assembled plumbing fixtures tested these athletes’ mental and physical limits. But when an overtime call came in, two techs sprung into action, putting down their weights and removing their gloves before running to their Bergen vans, off to help another invaluable customer in need.
I caught up with Bergen Games hopeful, A.C. Heaton, technician by day and athlete in training by night, as he took a lap around the Bergen offices. “I’ve been working towards this since I was just an apprentice,” he told me. “When other apprentices would be at the bar or the movies, I was here assembling and reassembling a garbage disposal. I’ve taken 2 minutes off my time since last year. It’s my time now. I’m going to bring home gold for my family and my county!” Perhaps a legacy in the making? A year from now, his face could cover every Wheaties box in the country, but for now he is simply a humble player, honing his skills.
Athletes surrounded me in the arena, training late into the night. One curled a refrigerant jug, another practiced removing and installing furnace filters with a determination and coordination I hadn’t seen since the Berlin Wall fell. Yet another athlete augered a drain at near-record pace. These techs have been pushing themselves to the extreme, even though there are no known records for the events of these games, an opportunity these athletes are counting on in order to gain the fame and glory they so desperately seek.
Even the office staff is participating in the games, and they’re out for blood. The rookies of the field, they may not know a copper pipe from a scissor lift, but they’re eager to prove themselves. One thing is for sure, if the games involve numbers crunched or calls answered, these men and women will certainly pose a threat to their more seasoned opponents.
I’ve been forbidden from reporting in any great detail on the exact specifics of the events, but I can tell you they will require a mastery of speed, strength and perfected technical skills in order to truly compete in these games.
A target hung in one corner. A ladder and a series of buckets were strategically set up outside the building with the final destination seeming to be the roof. Athletes slid past me on the concrete floor as they performed yet another round of practice runs in shoe covers. Perhaps a take on speed skating will be at the Games? Or maybe this was simply part of their strenuous conditioning. The purpose of their efforts was unclear, but their hunger for gold was apparent. Rumors swirl of a relay race unlike anything the sports and plumbing world has ever seen before. Whatever the events, BergenMania spirit is alive and well, and it can assemble a potato cannon in under a minute.
Much like the athletes, sponsors have been clamoring for their place in the Games. Nike and Gatorade were left behind with too little, too late bids to earn their names on the backs of these competitors. Advertising space is filling up quicker than a toilet tank with a broken flapper.
Press coverage has been limited to protect the integrity of the games, and suspense is building as the spectators await any and all news on the Games. The world is watching these fierce men and women, and with all eyes on Bergen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling anticipation levels are almost as high as customer satisfaction. Greatness awaits, and these pros are on their way.