Y Notes

Swim team is lifelong, family affair

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    Three days a week since last September, kids have streamed through the YMCA lobby, headed toward the swimming pool for the YMCA youth swim team practice.

    The kids rush through the building to the locker room - hopefully all taking a shower - before heading out to the pool for an hour of laps, treading water and stroke perfection. O.K., maybe not perfection, but still better than most of us can ever fathom.

    The YMCA youth swim team wraps up its season this weekend with a championship swim meet in Fremont. Dozens of swimmers will make the long haul from McCook to Fremont to compete against fellow YMCA swimmers from across the state.

    And almost all will be bringing their entire family along.

    For many, being part of the YMCA swim team is a family affair and one that has been part of their lives since they could walk. For some, even before they could walk as they sat through their siblings’ practices.

    Almost all of the swimmers - and not just in McCook - seem to have a brother or sister on the team or have had a sibling who swam in the past.

    When a swim team mom pulls up in front of the Y, multiple kids pour out of the vehicle. Bathrooms at home have piles of wet towels draped over the shower stall. And personally, we buy goggles in bulk, just because someone is going to use them and they seem to grow legs and wander off.

    Swim meets are truly family events. Once a month, the families drive to a YMCA for a swim meet where the parents have the “privilege” of sitting through a day-long meet.

    But what makes swimming truly unique is that kids of all ages are competing on the same team. They are all in the same place at the same pool on the same day. Rarely are the parents split between different venues...except for the occasional high school and Y meet overlap.

    Swimming is also a lifelong sport. A sport that athletes are able to compete in from the moment they can make it across the pool until….well, until they don’t want to be seen a swimsuit any longer.

    So after the swimmers hit the water this weekend for the last time this winter, they’ll take a break for a couple months. But most will be right back at it soon after Memorial Day as the summer swim league begins.

    There will still be towels piled up in the bathrooms and goggles will be lost on a daily basis. The only difference will be that the kids will be able to ride their bikes to the pool, while mom gets a short break from carpooling.

    ***

    With winter continuing to hang out, the youth soccer season at the YMCA has been pushed back several weeks. Originally scheduled to start this Saturday, teams haven’t even had the chance to hit the fields for practice yet, much less get the fields ready for games.

    While teams are being formed, parents who are the true epitome of procrastination can still sign up their kindergartners through eighth graders. Games are planned to begin Saturday, March 23. Of course, that’s presuming we can find the fields at Barnett Park by that point.

     


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  • 07-Mar-2019

 

Three days a week since last September, kids have streamed through the YMCA lobby, headed toward the swimming pool for the YMCA youth swim team practice.

The kids rush through the building to the locker room - hopefully all taking a shower - before heading out to the pool for an hour of laps, treading water and stroke perfection. O.K., maybe not perfection, but still better than most of us can ever fathom.

The YMCA youth swim team wraps up its season this weekend with a championship swim meet in Fremont. Dozens of swimmers will make the long haul from McCook to Fremont to compete against fellow YMCA swimmers from across the state.

And almost all will be bringing their entire family along.

For many, being part of the YMCA swim team is a family affair and one that has been part of their lives since they could walk. For some, even before they could walk as they sat through their siblings’ practices.

Almost all of the swimmers - and not just in McCook - seem to have a brother or sister on the team or have had a sibling who swam in the past.

When a swim team mom pulls up in front of the Y, multiple kids pour out of the vehicle. Bathrooms at home have piles of wet towels draped over the shower stall. And personally, we buy goggles in bulk, just because someone is going to use them and they seem to grow legs and wander off.

Swim meets are truly family events. Once a month, the families drive to a YMCA for a swim meet where the parents have the “privilege” of sitting through a day-long meet.

But what makes swimming truly unique is that kids of all ages are competing on the same team. They are all in the same place at the same pool on the same day. Rarely are the parents split between different venues...except for the occasional high school and Y meet overlap.

Swimming is also a lifelong sport. A sport that athletes are able to compete in from the moment they can make it across the pool until….well, until they don’t want to be seen a swimsuit any longer.

So after the swimmers hit the water this weekend for the last time this winter, they’ll take a break for a couple months. But most will be right back at it soon after Memorial Day as the summer swim league begins.

There will still be towels piled up in the bathrooms and goggles will be lost on a daily basis. The only difference will be that the kids will be able to ride their bikes to the pool, while mom gets a short break from carpooling.

***

With winter continuing to hang out, the youth soccer season at the YMCA has been pushed back several weeks. Originally scheduled to start this Saturday, teams haven’t even had the chance to hit the fields for practice yet, much less get the fields ready for games.

While teams are being formed, parents who are the true epitome of procrastination can still sign up their kindergartners through eighth graders. Games are planned to begin Saturday, March 23. Of course, that’s presuming we can find the fields at Barnett Park by that point.

 


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New activities at the YMCA

  • Over the new few months, I will be highlighting the different activities and programs available at the YMCA.

    There are simply too many to properly showcase each fitness class or youth activity in one column.

    But to kick things off, I would like everyone to consider something trying something new. It’s that first step which is often poses the biggest hurdle.

    And people come up with a variety of excuses from lack of time to intimidation of walking into a new group of people to waiting for a day not ending in Y.

    But there is never a perfect time to try something different, to venture out of your comfort zone.

    So instead of waiting for the New Year or even the first of the month, visit the YMCA website for a complete list of fitness classes or the pool schedule.

    There are ample opportunities to dabble in something different, to take a new challenge.

    Consider the fitness class, Strong by Zumba, which returns in October, allowing you to test your dance skills as well as your cardio-fitness levels.

    And rest assured what happens in Zumba, stays in Zumba, especially since the blinds are pulled shut and there are no video cameras in the exercise room.

    Trying something new and different isn’t just limited to adults.

    Naturally, many of the activities at the Y will expose kids to something new.

    There is Child Watch, the child care program for kids while their parents are using the facility.

    For some kids, this may be their first time separated from their parents or their first time around other kids who aren’t their siblings.

    Swim lessons are another natural first for many kids.

    It’s impossible to know how many kids have dipped their foot into a pool for the first time at the Y.

    But thousands of kids over the years have received their first taste of a swimming pool at the Y, whether at swim lessons or venturing into the kiddie pool in the arms of their parents.

    And you don’t have to be in the Y to try something new.

    The Heritage Days Road Race, sponsored by the YMCA and Parker Hannifin, will be next Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.

    If you have never competed in a road race or covered 3.1 miles, the Heritage Days run/walk is the perfect opportunity to check that off your list.

    The weather is usually beautiful…not too hot, not too cold…although I’ve probably jinxed myself by promising that Mother Nature will cooperate.

    The course provides a challenge, offering downhills, uphills and everything in between.

    Many people think of McCook as flat, but there is a reason there is an “upper” and “lower” shelter house at Kelley Park, which the road race crosses through several times.

    And finally, the route follows the walking trails and McCook streets, so the chances of getting lost are lessened.

    Not eliminated, just lessened.

    And if all else fails, there will likely be a float or antique car passing by on the way to the parade, so you can catch a ride back to Norris Park.

    Heck, you may even end up making a new friend, getting asked to ride the float in the parade and end up with your picture on the front of the Gazette.

    Just consider all the possibilities if you simply try something new.


     Text

  • 21-Sep-2018

Over the new few months, I will be highlighting the different activities and programs available at the YMCA.

There are simply too many to properly showcase each fitness class or youth activity in one column.

But to kick things off, I would like everyone to consider something trying something new. It’s that first step which is often poses the biggest hurdle.

And people come up with a variety of excuses from lack of time to intimidation of walking into a new group of people to waiting for a day not ending in Y.

But there is never a perfect time to try something different, to venture out of your comfort zone.

So instead of waiting for the New Year or even the first of the month, visit the YMCA website for a complete list of fitness classes or the pool schedule.

There are ample opportunities to dabble in something different, to take a new challenge.

Consider the fitness class, Strong by Zumba, which returns in October, allowing you to test your dance skills as well as your cardio-fitness levels.

And rest assured what happens in Zumba, stays in Zumba, especially since the blinds are pulled shut and there are no video cameras in the exercise room.

Trying something new and different isn’t just limited to adults.

Naturally, many of the activities at the Y will expose kids to something new.

There is Child Watch, the child care program for kids while their parents are using the facility.

For some kids, this may be their first time separated from their parents or their first time around other kids who aren’t their siblings.

Swim lessons are another natural first for many kids.

It’s impossible to know how many kids have dipped their foot into a pool for the first time at the Y.

But thousands of kids over the years have received their first taste of a swimming pool at the Y, whether at swim lessons or venturing into the kiddie pool in the arms of their parents.

And you don’t have to be in the Y to try something new.

The Heritage Days Road Race, sponsored by the YMCA and Parker Hannifin, will be next Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.

If you have never competed in a road race or covered 3.1 miles, the Heritage Days run/walk is the perfect opportunity to check that off your list.

The weather is usually beautiful…not too hot, not too cold…although I’ve probably jinxed myself by promising that Mother Nature will cooperate.

The course provides a challenge, offering downhills, uphills and everything in between.

Many people think of McCook as flat, but there is a reason there is an “upper” and “lower” shelter house at Kelley Park, which the road race crosses through several times.

And finally, the route follows the walking trails and McCook streets, so the chances of getting lost are lessened.

Not eliminated, just lessened.

And if all else fails, there will likely be a float or antique car passing by on the way to the parade, so you can catch a ride back to Norris Park.

Heck, you may even end up making a new friend, getting asked to ride the float in the parade and end up with your picture on the front of the Gazette.

Just consider all the possibilities if you simply try something new.


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Playing Favorites: Soccer

  • I’ll admit it. I play favorites.

    I have my favorite sport (soccer) and my favorite ice cream (peanut butter fudge). No, I do not have a favorite child (although they may claim I do).

    But I do play favorites when it comes to the days of the year. I love the fall morning after daylight savings times ends, when it is actually easy to get out of bed. And I’m pretty fond of my birthday and Christmas.

    But today, June 21, also ranks high on my favorite days simply because it is the longest day of the year. Summer is officially here. Today, we had our earliest sunrise and we will have the latest sunset all year long.

    Although I may not do it everyday, I love that I can go for a bike ride at 9 p.m. because it is still light outside. I love that I can go for a run in the morning without street lights guiding the way. I love that I can ride my bike into the Y for a morning swim and not worry if I charged the bike’s headlamps.

    Of course, there are a few downsides to today.

    Bedtime in my household is always tough but it is a downright struggle when all they have to say is “but it’s still light outside” and I can’t argue. There is my morning wake-up call - two dogs and a cat jumping on my bed - which arrives at the crack of dawn like clockwork. And we are so busy enjoying the lingering bits of daylight that dinner and bedtime are usually within 20 minutes of each other. But these are wonderful “problems” to have.

    And we are not alone in enjoying the longer days of summer. On any given evening, people are outside for a late-evening stroll or walking the dog. Both adults and kids are at the Jaycee Complex playing softball, usually able to fit in several games without turning on the field lights.

    All this outdoor activity and extra daylight does have an additional consequence - the YMCA switches to summer hours. With fewer members inside and families out-of-town on vacation, the facility hours are slightly different over the next few months; just enough that people should check if they are coming at a time they don’t usually frequent.

    Actually, the hours switched the day after Memorial Day but “summer hours” is easier to post than “Tuesday morning after Memorial Day through the Monday of the week for the first day of school for the McCook school system….hours”. But don’t worry: there are still plenty of hours available to enjoy everything at the YMCA, especially with all the additions this summer from Child Watch in the evening to yoga in the morning.

    And even with all this extra daylight, my favorite time of day remains early morning, actually 5 a.m. when I arrive at the Y. The birds are chirping, the streets are empty, the first sliver of sunlight is streaking across the sky, and my coffee group is arriving to get in the requisite hour of exercise before we leave for coffee.

    For the record, I’m not going to spill the beans on our favorite coffee spot...you will have to get up early and join the coffee group to learn which is our favorite location.

     

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  • 22-Jun-2018

I’ll admit it. I play favorites.

I have my favorite sport (soccer) and my favorite ice cream (peanut butter fudge). No, I do not have a favorite child (although they may claim I do).

But I do play favorites when it comes to the days of the year. I love the fall morning after daylight savings times ends, when it is actually easy to get out of bed. And I’m pretty fond of my birthday and Christmas.

But today, June 21, also ranks high on my favorite days simply because it is the longest day of the year. Summer is officially here. Today, we had our earliest sunrise and we will have the latest sunset all year long.

Although I may not do it everyday, I love that I can go for a bike ride at 9 p.m. because it is still light outside. I love that I can go for a run in the morning without street lights guiding the way. I love that I can ride my bike into the Y for a morning swim and not worry if I charged the bike’s headlamps.

Of course, there are a few downsides to today.

Bedtime in my household is always tough but it is a downright struggle when all they have to say is “but it’s still light outside” and I can’t argue. There is my morning wake-up call - two dogs and a cat jumping on my bed - which arrives at the crack of dawn like clockwork. And we are so busy enjoying the lingering bits of daylight that dinner and bedtime are usually within 20 minutes of each other. But these are wonderful “problems” to have.

And we are not alone in enjoying the longer days of summer. On any given evening, people are outside for a late-evening stroll or walking the dog. Both adults and kids are at the Jaycee Complex playing softball, usually able to fit in several games without turning on the field lights.

All this outdoor activity and extra daylight does have an additional consequence - the YMCA switches to summer hours. With fewer members inside and families out-of-town on vacation, the facility hours are slightly different over the next few months; just enough that people should check if they are coming at a time they don’t usually frequent.

Actually, the hours switched the day after Memorial Day but “summer hours” is easier to post than “Tuesday morning after Memorial Day through the Monday of the week for the first day of school for the McCook school system….hours”. But don’t worry: there are still plenty of hours available to enjoy everything at the YMCA, especially with all the additions this summer from Child Watch in the evening to yoga in the morning.

And even with all this extra daylight, my favorite time of day remains early morning, actually 5 a.m. when I arrive at the Y. The birds are chirping, the streets are empty, the first sliver of sunlight is streaking across the sky, and my coffee group is arriving to get in the requisite hour of exercise before we leave for coffee.

For the record, I’m not going to spill the beans on our favorite coffee spot...you will have to get up early and join the coffee group to learn which is our favorite location.

 

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