Like many of you, I’m an avid viewer of many of the television shows on the DIY network and HGTV.  I like thinking that it’s easy to flip a house, turn trash into treasure, or buy rental properties with no down payment.  Yes, with TV and the internet, we can do almost anything.   With WebMD, I can even self-diagnose and self-medicate.

It’s all rather exciting, so recently when I found I had a wiring problem in my 60-year-old commercial building, I researched it with my two best friends Google, and YouTube (and yes, I know they are the same company).  After just a few hours, I figured out how to cut the power to the building, divert power to a temporary transformer and was on my way to rewiring my building.  Next, I found commercial grade wire (on the internet) and went to three different websites where I got 5 independent handymen who would provide all the labor on my project.  Overall my cost was about 30% of the quote that I had received from the “licensed” electricians that I had at first contacted.  Pretty smart huh?

Well, yea, that never happened!  And, hopefully you wouldn’t do that either.

Regardless of what we’re told on the internet, some things are best left the professionals.  In my world those things are my health, my legal affairs, and my gym and, oh yes and my electrical needs.  Sticking with the internet theme, I was recently reading a Facebook post on a gym owners group.  A gym owner described a specific equipment anchoring problem and ask for suggestions on how to fix his current dilemma.  It was both enlightening, and disturbing that by the time I read the post he/she had gotten at least 27 suggestions.  Gymnastics is a relatively small industry so it wasn’t surprising that I personally knew many of the respondents.  The good news is that aside from the one comedian that suggested the use of duct tape for all repairs, all the well-meaning replies offered reasonable solutions.  Unfortunately mixed in with the replies was some rather poor advice for business owner.  Some of the poor advice included mixing manufactures, using the wrong size anchors, not fully researching the problem, all the solutions came without knowing what product was being anchored or who the manufacturer was.

I did reply with my own advice based on my 40 plus years of experience in the gymnastic equipment business.   Over those years I’ve been involved in product development, installation training, specification reviews, and been deposed regarding improper use, assembly, and installation of gymnastic equipment.   So, here’s my simple advice, before installing or repairing a piece of gymnastics equipment, contact the manufacturer, and follow their recommendation. Aside from the fact that the manufacture has all the engineering test results, and the background design information; they are also the one’s that should be there beside you to help and support you should anything go wrong.  Don’t put your friends and colleagues on the spot even though they are always ready and willing to help. Their advice may be sound, but why take the chance when the one thing that every manufacturer will give you for free is advice on installing and repairing their equipment.

Now that we have that settled, I have a persistent pain in my shoulder…. anyone have any advice.?


Steve Cook – AAI National Sales Director