Occasionally in our lives we come across someone who makes a profound personal difference for us. In my life, that hasn't happened often. This is just a short story about one such occurrence.
I started going to a new large fancy gym the day it opened about three years ago. It's only about a mile from my home. I asked about Salsa classes, and was told to check out the Zumba classes instead. I had never heard of Zumba, but decided to give it a try. I was hooked at once.
Soon I discovered a particular instructor that I liked. Her name is Eva, and she is a petit young woman who describes herself as half Cuban. I think that description is important to her as Zumba music is primarily latin: salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, merengue, etc. Anyway, I was immediately impressed with Eva's abilities and personality.She is the best all around athlete I've ever known. Her strength and endurance amaze me. She has a perfectly sculpted body and outstanding muscle tone without appearing muscle bound or masculine in any way. She is a great class leader and inspires her students to work at their peak level. Her students drive out of their way to attend her classes, and arrive as much as 20 minutes early just to be sure of getting their preferred spots on the exercise floor. In addition to Zumba, Eva teaches pilates, body sculpt, boot camp, and kick boxing classes. Between classes she works as a personal trainer. Eva has excellent taste in music for Zumba, and she is a super good choreographer. And here's the clincher, she is the best dancer I ever saw. She dances every night and does trapeze work at the Las Vegas Hilton to rave revues. Or, I should say she did. You see, we've lost her. She had to move away.
The failing economy here in Las Vegas resulted in problems in Eva's husband's business. There just isn't enough work available here anymore. So he had to make the hard decision to move back to Springfield, Illinois where he can take over the family's established business. Of course, Eva had to follow even though it meant leaving her family here. Sad.
Finally, I get to the point of this blog entry. I feel SO blessed for having the opportunity over the last three years to get to know and work with Eva. She has been an absolute inspiration to me. I have never worked so hard or been so physically fit. Even at my age (65) and with my disability I feel stronger and more alive than ever before. I bet I have the heart and lung strength of a typical 20 year old! And she did it, not me. All I did was go to the classes and try my darnedest to keep up with her. After an hour of nonstop Zumba with Eva I was always destroyed, soaking wet, and barely able to get to the showers. Someone asked me what it was like, and I managed to quip: "It's like having ridden a horse all day yesterday!" But even so, I went to all of Eva's classes, three times a week, and never missed.
You people in Springfield, Illinois need to know what a treasure you have. Her name is Eva Valdes Brammer. She teaches in your area at Fit Club. Do yourself a favor and find her.
Here is an excellent video of Eva leading a Zumba class in her new location: