While multiple small, local gyms have been forced to close to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to think that the world’s most elite athletes-turned-gym-owners would all be able to make it out of this relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, though, even athletes like Garry Tonon are getting hit hard by the closures of the pandemic.
Last week, Tonon shared the difficult news that his academy, Brunswick BJJ, would be forced to relocate after the primary leaseholder at the facility went bankrupt due to the business-related impacts of the outbreak. As a result, Tonon would also have to find a new location for his gym, which he’d just reopened at that location a few months prior. Tonon has sworn that he would get the gym back up and running again elsewhere, but given the state of the world right now, the transition will have to wait until after more restrictions are relaxed.
Unfortunately, the day finally came when Tonon would have to be completely moved out of the space, and he shared an emotional post on social media detailing his feelings about the situation:
“While I am the type of person who is always looking to accomplish my next goal no matter what kind of road blocks I hit, I cannot help but feel depressed about my current situation. So much time and effort by many different people lost. So much material wasted. So many people disappointed. I broke my back for my whole juvenile and adult life to build something and now it’s gone. Many others broke their backs with me and I feel like I let them down. And that’s the craziest most frustrating part of all of this. THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD’VE DONE TO PREVENT THIS. That fact should comfort me but it does not. There is so much sadness and rage in my heart. Whenever I would get into trouble at my grandparents house, my grandfather Edward Leithauser would always pull me aside and recite to me the Serenity prayer. It goes something like this “Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” I didn’t understand him until after he died. I just thought he was just a crazy old man. At his funeral I reflected on those words and finally for the very first time understood them. He was literally giving me the secret to solving all the problems I would have in my life. He changed my life. I’m not particularly religious anymore, but those words ring true no matter what you believe in. I can’t help but ask myself in this moment though “What about what’s happening right now can I actually change? ” There’s a simple but emotionally devestating answer. I can’t. In this very moment, there isn’t a single thing I can change and that’s terrifying. All I can do now is look to change my future because there’s nothing that can be done in my present situation. It’s very hard to admit defeat, it’s very hard to surrender, but sometimes all you can do is live to fight another day. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. With tears in my eyes and fire in my heart, I will walk forward to an uncertain future. My teeth and fists clenched I will be ready to fight for what and who I love. I won’t be alone in this fight for my future. Many will walk beside me and we will rebuild together. Love you all goodnight”
Unfortunately, we will likely see more academies forced to close as time goes on.