Friday April 18th 2014

Out Going

A battle of the brawn: GruntMatch on the East End

By: Shannon Bryan

I’m making complaints like an old person today.

“My back aches,” “There’s a pain in my arm,” “I need a nap.”

I haven’t done anything to dramatically age myself (unless falafel is now made with chickpeas and an age-accelerating “special ingredient” found in the claws of wild turkeys. No wonder the birds look wrinkled beyond their years).

Instead, I GruntMatched. On Tuesday night I met up with the GruntMatch group I wrote about in last week’s newspaper. I knew the basics: The group offers the exercise-inclined a chance to put their muscle to good use in the real world by tackling community projects that require some brawn. Local organizations get some able-bodied help and in turn, participants get a gratifying sense of accomplishment and a stellar workout.

What I didn’t know was how much sweat could drain out of a person from the simple act of raking.

Organizers and attendees met up amid the Eastern Prom trail system, where new trails were being carved in the slender woods on Portland’s East End. Our job: Shovel trail covering into a wheelbarrow, bring it down the hill to the trail-in-making, and rake it flat. Do this for as much of the trail as possible in one hour.

We were divided into two teams, after which I promptly began trash talking (implying the other team had lackluster shoveling skills, they wheelbarrowed as competently as fish, et cetera. This may be volunteer work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shake up the other team’s emotional wellbeing).

But both teams brought the brawn.

So we wheelbarrowed. We raked. We shoveled. We sweat.

We made a great buffet for the mosquitoes. Feeling drained, we ate some snacks ourselves, courtesy of Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food.

And, on account of my team completing more trail than the other team in the allotted time, we each got a one-year membership to Portland Trails. And an elevated sense of accomplishment.

The other team got the sense of accomplishment too.

It was impressive how much the 15 or so of us got done in a short time – proving that GruntMatch isn’t just a way to work out, it really is a good way to work.

The group meets every other Tuesday and it’s free to participate. For more info on their next events or how to get involved, check GruntMatch out on Facebook.

Also, a heads up to local organizations that need work done. GruntMatch is looking to partner up! Got work? Get in touch.

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