I have been a loyal, devoted fan of the YMCA for nearly five years and I’m sad to report I think our relationship is headed for the toilet.
I remember when my daughter was young(er) and the weather seemed perpetually crappy and the Y offered us needed solace on Wednesday afternoons. I threw her in any class I could find, regardless of her skill or enthusiasm. Gymnastics? Sure! Ballet? You have no talent whatsoever, but you look so cute in those wee little shoes! And…a 30 minute guaranteed time suck? SIGN US UP. Swim lessons were a must. We bumbled our way through Family Zumba and vowed never to return, no matter how many tambourines they let us dance with. Several weeks later we wandered in to a late Friday evening Family Circuit class and both loved it. And I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken here often of my love/hate relationship with the indoor track.
My point? I’ve always loved the Y. Until this past Monday morning at approximately 10:42 a.m.
Oh, but trust me, it’s been brewing longer than that. I think Pierce County’s population exploded somewhere back in 2011. Suddenly everyone and their mother joined the Y and decided Tuesday evenings were a perfect time to work out on the equipment that, duh, is totally mine at that time. At first, I blew them off with a judgmental little self talk, all ‘pfffft, look at these New Years Resolution people…I can’t wait for February when they’ll inevitably go back to their Doritos and get off my track’. Except they didn’t go away. In fact, they multiplied like irritating little rabbits, making it impossible to do a circuit in the weight room. Or get my child in to the fast-filling swim lesson time slot I needed. Hell, I couldn’t even find parking. Sorry, child, you can kiss that coveted gymnastics class goodbye!
These minor irritations remained only that–minor–for quite some time. I was cool skipping a swim session every now and then. Whatever, we need a break. But wait, what? Swim lessons are now only 25 minutes? Yes, I’m sure all these preschoolers can completely absorb all the skills they need to save themselves from drowning while they elbow the other four children in the class out of the way for their five minutes of actual pool time. Not to mention, how does one squeeze in a workout in 25 minutes while their child is “swimming”? It’s entirely possible to wait that amount of time trying to use one machine in the weight room. These triceps aren’t going to exercise themselves, people!
And don’t even get me started on the locker room situation AFTER swim lessons are over. Let’s just say you want me to have more than 25 minutes of exercise to put myself in the zen state needed to do battle with the prepubescent shower hogs who occupy more than their fair share of real estate in the shower line while 40 shivering toddlers wait for what will surely be a cold shower.
Again, I dealt well with all these nuisances. I never killed a preteen and I only once or twice cut off a walker in the jogging lane of the track. Price you pay for one family fitness center serving way too large a population, am I right?
They changed the Family Circuit class from 6 pm to 4:30 pm. Hey, thanks there, you considerate staff members! Way to support your worker bee families who pay your salaries! Those of us with real jobs can totally make it to an exercise class that starts before 5 pm!
They changed the swim lesson registration process from a lottery system that I had only just now, after five years, begun to understand and navigate relatively well, to a first-come-first-served system. This new system required you to set up online accounts and passwords and to log on to their website at a certain date and time to register for your classes. 10 am on a Monday morning. Again, totally cool with this, you YMCA assholes! Let me just simultaneously start this patient’s IV and get their colonoscopy off to a smooth start while I also log on to your website and find the Wednesday evening Minnow class.
Let’s just say the registration process didn’t go so smoothly this past Monday. I was ready at 10 am. The colonoscopy was, in fact, off to a smooth start. The YMCA website, however, would not let me log on and by 10:45 all the classes were full and me and my little Minnow were shit out of luck.
I am now essentially paying this organization $72.50 per month for no parking spaces, cold showers, crowded weight rooms, class times that cater to people who clearly don’t work, and no swim lessons.
Oh. Wait. There is an opening! I can get her in to a Monday-Wednesday class from 3:15-3:40!
Sorry, YMCA. I just don’t see our relationship going anywhere. Not when there’s a perfectly nice high school minutes from my house that offers evening swim lessons to children with parents who have jobs. You served my little family so well for so long, it’s hard to say goodbye…I’ll always look back fondly to the Wednesday afternoons that didn’t require I sell my soul to the devil to get my preschooler in to a tumbling class. Maybe someday when you aren’t spreading your love quite so thin, we’ll come back. Until then, I’ll be braving the dark, cold streets to run outside year ’round and my daughter will be at the high school learning to swim.
I hope they have hot showers.