Archive for August, 2014

Dear West Chatham YMCA,

I’ve been a member since you opened. My family and I have taken advantage of the gym, the classes, Kid Fit, the summer and holiday camps — almost everything you have to offer.

We may never again use the pool, though. (And it is not because of a “Code Brown.”)

Dominic complained this summer about having to attend Y camp because of all the rules, especially in the pool. As he is the child of mine who likes to push boundaries, I ignored him. I assumed he wanted to jump off the top of the slide or play WWE with his brother in the shallow end.

Oh no.

I saw for myself what he meant. Here are some of the rules I discovered in just 30 minutes.

You cannot:

• Run around the pool.
• Walk fast around the pool.
• Go near the pool when they are testing the pH.
• Dive.
• Swim under the lane markers.
• Follow too closely on the slide.
• Go down head-first on the slide.
• Go down backward on the slide.
• Go down sitting on the slide.
• Twist your body while going down the slide.
• Wear goggles while going down the slide.
• Stay too long in the shallow area once you’ve gone down the slide.
• Get out of the pool any way but via the stairs.
• Play in the water under the slide even if there is no one else in the pool.
• Jump into the pool any way but feet first.
• Go anywhere near people who are taking lessons.
• Yell with glee.

Each of these rules was announced by the lifeguard, prefaced by “Hey, Buddy!”

At one point, I actually whipped around and said, “What now?!?”

And this is coming from someone who appreciates rules.

Some of them I can certainly understand (running and diving seem like guaranteed tickets to the ER). Others, not so much.

What you’ve really guaranteed is a no-fun zone, patrolled by 16-year-old dictators hopped up on a little power.


I realize you have these rules because of fear of litigation. I understand personal responsibility is nearly nonexistent in Amurka.

Allow me, please, to decide what’s safe and not safe for my children (within reason, of course) when I am in the water supervising. I promise I won’t sue. I’ll even sign a waiver.

I’m a member. Don’t you have to at least pretend to care what I think?

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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Dear Eddie,

I love you. I do. And that’s why I need to tell you something out of love and concern for your well-being and our medical flex-spending account:

Your basketball days are over.

You’ve said you are going to quit, but like a wicked meth mistress, it pulls you back.

You must stop now. For real. You just emerged from your third nasal realignment surgery (aka rhinoplasty, aka nose job). Your third. Third! Is that sinking in?


Let me jog your memory about other basketball-related visits to the hospital: double knee surgery, plantar fascia repair, bicep reattachment, elbow reconstruction, hip consultations, shoulder scar-tissue cleansing or whatever that was. You are the new Six Million Dollar Man.

I’ve spent many hours of my life hanging out in the Memorial waiting room:


Today’s confinement? Ten hours. Ten!

You are on a first-name basis with your orthopedic surgeon. “Oh hey, Eddie! Great to see you again!” — I actually heard that this morning from your anesthesiologist. Really, Dude? This isn’t crazy to you?

You are like a beautiful mural painted on a condemned building. You are rotting inside. All for the love of the game.

I love you. Please stop.

You have your CrossFit cult. You have the billion-dollar bicycle we bought when you were on your cycling kick. You don’t need basketball. You will find other ways to stay in shape.

I know you like basketball and you’re good at it. We all know that. You don’t have to prove anything. You’ve already proven yourself a force on the court and on the bench — in a uniform as a player and in a suit as a coach.

I’m taking away your various braces, pads, arm bands, kayak-sized basketball shoes, weird-smelling tank tops, athletic man Spanx, and other accoutrements of the game. You can still watch ESPN. You can start sentences with, “Back in my day …” You can coach our kids.

You cannot play basketball anymore.

For the love of all that is holy, wonderful and right in the world, please let this be the last photo I take of your nose being jacked-up.


If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for me. Do it for your kids. Do it for our savings account.

No more basketball.

I know the doctors will be sad to see you (and the new cars they buy at your expense) go, but everyone else will thank you. (OK, maybe not your teammates, but still.)

Your long-suffering, professional doctor-meeting, waiting-room-sitting, cafeteria-food-eating wife

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