I’m 62 years old and I’ve never lived in Rye but I’ve been coming to this Y for 55 years. I first started coming here when I was seven years old. The oldest of five boys–my mother I’m sure wanted to get rid of all of us–I think she used the facility as a babysitting service. She enrolled us for twice a week, one weekday and Saturday, 45 minutes in the gym and 45 minutes in the pool. The Y also had a boys’ travel basketball team so from the ages of 9 to 12, I played on the Y’s team and we would travel to local tournaments. By 16 I got my lifeguard certification here. I can still visualize the first gym and the changes that were made over the years. One of the big changes was the squash court being changed to a racquet ball court and all the squash players being up in arms that we now have a racquet ball court in the building.

These days I use the facility as often as possible, primarily for the pool because I need it for a health issue that I have. I need to exercise as much as possible in order to maintain my ability to walk without falling down. Depending on the day, I swim a minimum of 30 laps and as much as 50 laps, usually in the early afternoon hours. After that, I like sitting in the sauna. I am very happy with the new men’s locker room and the amenities that it presents. Lot of days just walking into the building my mobility is restricted and I am in a lot of pain. Then once I get in the pool and actually start moving I get relief. However, the minute I get out the pool and start walking back to the locker room my mobility issues and the pain might come back. But after the pool and exercise it’s the best that I feel and it’s why I continue to do it, because I need to and because I do feel better.

Three years ago, if I was to walk in the door I would have been on a walker and walking laps as a start. I wouldn’t be swimming nearly as much as I do now. This is also due to proper doctors’ and medical treatments that I have to get every four to eight weeks. I go to an infusion center and it takes three days and six to seven hours per day sitting and getting infused.

Along with walking my laps, I was able to get back to doing more and able to increase my walking to swimming, and now I swim like any old 62-year-old. Without the Y and the pool, I can say my mobility would not be this good. With my disability I don’t work. My only source of income is disability income but I am able to utilize the financial assistance program here. The Y has graciously helped me with that and provided assistance with my membership.

I truly like coming here not only for what it provides me from an exercise stand point but also there are a lot of staff members that I know personally. Barbara is one of them, along with Fred; we know each other from the community. Many relationships were built here in this facility. I grew up in Harrison but I met lots of friends who lived in Rye. We would play at each other’s homes and play on the same youth basketball leagues. These same boys then went to Rye High School and I went to Harrison High School so we ended up playing basketball, football, and baseball against each other. But to this day I’m still connected to and friendly with Rye Garnets as a Harrison Husky.