Friday, March 09, 2012

Kids in a Pool

To paraphrase my main man, Samuel L. Jackson, "that is it! I've had it!"

I'm sick and tired of these monkey-fighting kids in this Monday-to-Friday pool!

Of course, that's the FX-edited version, but you get the drift.  Yesterday, Alyssa and I got into the pool at 5:35pm to do a swim that takes a full hour.  Thursdays are frustrating already because the swim kids are in from 4-5:30, and then masters are in from 6:30-8:00/8:30.  Sidenote: I don't know what they're doing in there that whole time because I don't think most of them are really swimming 5km+ swims.  Anyway, we had just finished our the first 400m of our WARM UP and the lifeguard is giving us the boot.

What now?  "Pool's closed.  A kid...had an accident."

An accident?  Seems more like an on-purpose to me.  Accidents happen.  DIARRHEA does not.  That means your kid is sick.  To allow them into a public pool, that is irresponsible.  Should be charged with attempted murder with a dangerous weapon. 

Furthermore, this is now the 2nd time in the last month that I've been kicked out, on a Thursday night, due to a kid having an accident.  Last time it was "just" vomit, which means pool is closed for the rest of the night, but can re-open in the morning.  DIARRHEA, since it scrapes your esophagus and can pick up E. Coli, means pool is closed for 24 hours. 

I have been a member of the Merritt Athletic Clubs since 2006.  Not only do I like the gym, but the location is ideal for me, and I have enjoyed my time there.  I find it unreasonably priced, at nearly $90/mo (where do you think you are, NY? this is BALTIMORE), but there aren't other viable choices, so I deal.  Recently, they have been getting out of hand with the kids.

I wouldn't suggest asking Alyssa about swim team kids unless you're ready for some yelling.  Since it's mostly tweenage girls, they are terribly misbehaved in the locker room.  The parents are oblivious, and also part of the problem the way they think they own the gym.  Swim team kids currently practice from 4-5:30pm MWTh, taking up 3 lanes (of 4 available).

Then there are the swim lesson kids.  These kids are the worst.  I'm pretty sure the parents are not members, and that they just bring their kids in for lessons.  They scream at the top of their lungs, and run around the pool deck with reckless abandon.  And they puke and shit in the pool.

I was a kid once.  I am sure my behavior wasn't the best, but I also could poll my parents and see if I was this bad, and I'm positive I was not.  I think it's great to get kids involved with swim lessons.  JUST DON'T DO IT AT AN ADULT GYM.  That shit is for the YMCA.  There's one on 33rd Street, but I'm sure the white parents that bring their kids to the Merritt don't want to go to "The Hood." 

So let's calculate the impact of last night's shitshow:

Masters' swim was canceled.  Those people pay extra (on top of the absurd monthly membership fee) to get coaching, and the coach gets paid.  They swim Weds and Fri mornings, and Mon/Thurs nights.  Now your Friday morning masters swim is canceled, because the pool is closed.  And the pool will remain closed all day, meaning that all the other kids' swim lessons are canceled, as well as any of the adult private swim lessons that they do are canceled. 

The worst part?  Merritt sends out no notification of this.  They don't have it on their website, they don't tweet it, they don't put it on their Facebook page.  This is abhorrent.  I'm sure plenty of people are going to go out of their way to the gym today, expecting to swim, only to be denied.

Meanwhile, it just pisses regulars like us off.  So much so that I am now going to have to look into switching gyms.  And, because I feel like my valid concerns fall on deaf ears, I will speak poorly of the gym to anyone and everyone.  Here are my current pool options:

1. Meadowbrook.  This is THE place to swim, not just in Baltimore, but in America.  As their Twitter handle suggests, this is literally the @PoolOfChampions.  NBAC has produced Olympic greats Michael Phelps (co-owner now of the facility), Katie Hoff, Joanna Zeiger.  Plus, my friends/training partners OJ, Benda, Courtney, all swim there.  The problem is that it's 20 minutes north in the wrong direction, and I don't see myself driving there to swim when I'm not motivated.

2. MAC Harbor East.  This isn't much different a facility than the Merritt, it's 2 miles down the street, whatever.  It would be a lateral move.

3. 33rd St YMCA.  Cheap as dirt, but also dirty as dirt.  Don't like swimming there, and also 20 minutes away.

4. University of Maryland.  You know, if this wasn't egregiously far away, I would go there, because this beautiful pool is going to be unused soon, when they cut the Swimming and Diving programs.  The beautiful 10 lane 50m pool is deep, cold, and fast.  And the gym is awesome.  It *almost* makes me wish I lived closer.

In the end, they've got me by the balls.  Merritt has 3 locations in the City, with Canton being the premier, but the only valid option for swimming during the non-summer months.  Downtown Athletic Center has a 3 lane 20yd pool, so that's out.  Fort Ave only has the outdoor pool, so it's only open May-October.  But, no kids are allowed at that gym, I think it's 21 and older.

The summer is a weird time at the Canton pool, because on the weekends it turns into a club.  Yes, a nightclub.  Club Aqua, Saturday nights.  And during the day, they have a DJ out there and most of the bros and hoes are out there getting tan and drinking (there's a bar).  It's pretty uncomfortable to be there swimming for exercise, probably moreso for the girls who aren't in skimpy two-pieces.  Since I DGAF I just hop in in my speedo and unkempt, manly chest, and tan my cheeks. 

It's mostly just frustrating that they don't care.  The lifeguard apologized for having to kick us out, but you never hear a manager saying sorry, how can we make your experience better.  We tweet at them frequently, and they never engage with us.  That's irresponsible of a brand or organization, it's like why bother even being involved with social media?  They retweet the pretty bimbos who say things like "YAY! SO excited for Body Pump this morning!!!!" but they are missing out on an opportunity to engage with us, who have legitimate concerns. 

Instead, I'll just keep complaining and badmouthing them.  Like The Rock says in Fast Five:



Meg said...

The pools at the MAC are nice. Salt water (no smelly chemicals) and there's a separate pool for kids.

ConArtist said...

Too bad you don't have Wilson pool in your 'hood...

Kristie said...

Diarrhea is a hard one to swallow...literally. Everything happens for a reason. This incident might have help you avoid an 80+ year old man that was going to aimlessly swim in your lane and crash into you as you were philping along at mach speed during your set. Taking the day only impeded your workout for the day. The former could have done some unrecoverable damage.

Chalk it up to a loss and drive to the Phelps owned pool. It may be the less than obvious choice, but it's obviously the ideal place minus location. The face that you have to drive may actually motivate you further because you don't want to waste the effort. I find when I have to drive to run, I always want to make it count. It seems to be a waste otherwise.

In addition, I believe you should take up the job of swim lesson teacher given your fondness for the kids and their relentless bodily excretions.