Partially because baseball simply hasn’t been that interesting to write about lately. I know Dan Cortes did such a good job in relief during yesterday’s Rays game that none other than Felix Hernandez himself was all over him after his outing, all smiles and congratulations (I heard it on the radio). I’m aware that we won that game, and that the Yankees finally decided to step it up after both their Mariano Rivera and the Red Sox’ Jonathan Papelbon blew saves in the same game. Because of this, the Rays and New York are now like a half a game apart, and the battle for the AL East is going to be vicious. That is baseball worth watching, so if you can, keep an eye on that race, it’s going to be a good one.
This post is, however, vaguely sports related. Also, community service related, so listen up!
My friend Jessica, the same Jessica who used to be in a wheelchair because of a degenerative bone condition aggravated by a car accident back in 2008, and was a driving force behind the petition to save the bullpen helmets last year (I was really just the mouth, she was the brains), has taken up a new, slightly more important cause.
Jessica lives in Tukwila with her husband Brandon and their son Orion. The family are Seattle Mariners fans and long time friends of mine. They’ve been active at the Tukwila Pool for quite some time now, especially in more recent years because of the fact that Jess physically benefits from the exercise and physical therapy that she can get by swimming and being in the water. Unfortunately, the city is debating closing the pool due to funding cuts.
So, you might ask, what’s the big deal? As someone who doesn’t live in Tukwila and doesn’t normally swim anyway (in a pool or otherwise), initially I was thinking that maybe this wasn’t such a huge deal, until I was at the Rangers game with Jess a few Sundays ago, and we started talking about it. It was then that I realized that public pools provide a huge service to all communities, especially in an area perforated by several bodies of water. As we were talking, it dawned on me that with the lakes, rivers, and even the Sound, the teaching of swimming in public pools is an absolute necessity for our children and anyone else who wants to learn. How many times a year are there news stories about someone – be it child or adult – drowning in Lake Washington or the Green River? Even one is too many. Public pools are an easy place to teach swimming because there is no current to fight, a deck to hold onto if necessary, and an easy atmosphere in which to be comfortable learning how to swim and stay afloat.
Another thing to consider is the cost of the pool – I understand from Jessica that the Tukwila Pool charges a lot less than most other pools, making it an ideal place for families and children in an area that is affected by poverty and has a high immigrant population. From what she tells me, a lot of immigrant families use the pool, folks who might have to struggle to make ends meet – thus, the pool serves as a form of cheap entertainment in a city of $10 movies and expensive malls. A lot of the kids there also meet other kids and make friends, helping socialize our next generation, something that may be lacking in an era increasingly riddled by technology.
Yet one more point is the fact that the only other pools in the area are in Federal Way and White Center, a bit of a slog either way for drivers, let alone someone who might not have a car and need to take a bus to get places. The Tukwila Pool provides a valuable service in many ways other than just being a place for folks to get out of the hot weather during the summer time. It should not be closed down.
For further information, including photos, legal documents, and a story from pnwlocalnews.com interviewing Jessica, check out their website here. They have a FaceBook page here, as well, with more information and testimonies from people who love and use the pool. The main point of all of this is to get the information out in the public eye and to try and get this on the ballot for a vote, rather than just allow the city to close it down with no say from its’ citizens. So please, especially if you’re in the Tukwila area, check out the info and let people know.