City Lights: Now accepting challengers

The game is on, folks.

You may not guess it from my 5-foot-8, 140-pound frame, but I'm the defending pushup champion of Huntington Beach.

In part, anyway.

Last year, the Training Spot on Main Street hosted its first annual pushup competition, and I topped the men's over-30 division by packing 117 repetitions into 90 seconds. As I noted at the time, that was quite an athletic feat for a man who belted one base hit in his entire Little League career.

But bragging aside, I hope someone tops my record this year. In fact, I hope they leave it in the dust and turn me into a footnote in pushup history.

America's servicemen and women need it.

The Training Spot joined about 100 health clubs and gyms nationwide last year in Pushups for Charity, a benefit for the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project. All funds raised through pledges and donations go to job training, counseling, toiletries and other needs for returning troops who have been wounded overseas.

Pushups for Charity invites contestants to gather pledges between 50 cents and $1 per pushup. In other words, the more pushups you pack into a minute and a half, the more a true American hero gets the support he or she deserves.

Already, it looks like the Training Spot has avoided the sophomore jinx. According to owner Paul Fetters, the gym raised about $17,000 last year with 26 contestants, and by the beginning of this week, 25 had already signed up for the April 2 event.

Still, Fetters, who has a nephew serving in Afghanistan, said a glance at the morning headlines puts any fundraising amount in perspective.

"When you look in the paper, they're always bringing somebody home, having funeral services," he said. "It's front-page news. It's so relevant."

The contest will feature the same format as last year. Participants line up on mats in the Training Spot's parking lot while counters keep track of their pushups, and organizers announce the winners at the scene.

So if you think your arms are stronger than a city editor's, visit and sign up. And if my championship reign ends up lasting just one year, I'll be more than content.

City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at

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