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Published: Wednesday, 3/20/2013

End of a gym

The closing of Torio’s Health Club in West Toledo is not a tragedy, even for those who are sad about it. Tragedies are senseless shooting deaths and children with cancer. Everyone understands that times change; businesses come and go.

Modern gyms need modern equipment, trainers, flexible hours, young patrons, and the latest fitness classes, music, and clothing. Torio’s had none of these things.

But it had buckets of character and history. It was a place where kids learned the right way to wrestle, and where old friends looked forward to meeting each other and arguing about politics.

Today’s gyms often are local franchises of national chains. And they are not gyms: They are fitness clubs, health clubs, spas. You don’t find a fighter in a health club, or a wrestler in a spa.

Torio’s was a unique Toledo institution, with its own characters, traditions, lore, and smells. It can never be duplicated. Doubtless some entrepreneur will start a chain of old-school gyms, with battered speed bags, warped wooden floors, and trainers who look more like Burgess Meredith than Pink.

But Toledo has lost something all its own. While that is not quite a tragedy, the city will be the less because of it.

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