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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Fed up and frustrated
I've had it with the Smyrna YMCA. I've just out and out had it. The staff, the people, the entire situation. We got a new Y built in Smyrna. It is state of the art and a nice facility. Too bad I won't be using it again any time soon.

I've detailed my issues before about the pool and the complete lack of consideration given to lap swimmers. But now it's reached a whole new level of frustration.

Yesterday, I changed my workout routine. Instead of staying downtown and making use of the downtown Y, I decided to use Smyrna. See, it was Gracelyn's b'day and we were having a family dinner and celebration for her. So, I changed my routine. I decided I'd use the Smyrna Y since it was closer to home and that meant I'd not get stuck in traffic and miss her birthday dinner.

Now, I was there at a busy time of day and I realize that I have to share machines and the lap lane with others. It's part of being an adult and being a courteous one. The first issue came when I decided to use a treadmill to do some walking and maybe a bit of jogging. I saw someone finishing and I grabbed the reservation card from the front of the machine. I then went to get a drink of water and came find a woman using the machine. I politely went up to her, showed her the card and asked if I could use the machine since I had the reservation for it.

"No," she said. "I see free machine, I get on it. I pay membership fee, I have right to use it."

So, I calmly explained to her that during the peak times, there was a reservation system and that I had the reservation card.

"I don't care," she said.

So, I went to get some assistance.

Now, let me explain part of this story here. The woman in questions was Latino. That will be significant later.

So, I get the Y staff, who come over. They explained the situation to her and she again stated her refusal to vacate the machine. She said she'd never seen this policy posted (it's all over the Y) and so since she didn't know about it, it did not apply to her. And then she pulled out the d-word and I knew I was done...I'd never get to use the machine.

"This is discrimination," she said. "I have the right to use the machine and I will use it. No one can have a reservation like that."

So, I was toast. The Y staff backed off. Luckily a guy next to her finished up and gave me a machine. As I got on, the woman next to me said, "Oh I had no idea that was a rule either."

I replied, "Yeah, well, I understand. But if I'm speeding and I try the defense of--I had no idea what the speed limit was because I never saw a sign, I'd still get a ticket."

Nothing like being glared at by a bunch of people. I guess I know how it feels to be Rush Limbaugh and walk into a meeting of the Bill Clinton fan club.

So after that, I went to swim. It was crowded, but not by Y users, but by the Smyrna High School swim team. And I'm sorry, but there are only three lap lanes and I don't think allowin the Smyrna High School swim team to use 2 of them during the busy time of the day is a good use of resources. The Y is open until 10 at night and they can use it during off peak hours as far as I'm concerned. But I digress...

I saw one lap lane open and the woman offered to share. So, I did. She eventually got out and I had the lane to myself for a few minutes. I then saw a woman come up and I swam down to let her know I'd be happy to share. Only to have this guy come running up and jump in.

"I guess we'll share," he said.

I pointed to the woman. "Well, she was waiting and was here first," I said.

"I didn't see her," the guy said.

So, I figured I'd let it go. I said I'd split the lane with whoever and move on. I also figured I'd self-inforce the 30 minute lap lane rule during busy times. So, I start to swim..and as I'm coming back the guy is in my half of the lane. I nearly hit him...but he kept on going as if nothing was wrong. So, I figured he was confused. I watched him swim--he was all over the lap lane.

I tried to swim again--same result. Finally, I waited for him and asked him "Sir, how are we splitting the lap lane? I nearly hit you and I don't want to do that."

"I thought I'd stay on the right," he said.

"Well, I thought we were splitting it, one person to a side. I just don't want to hit you and cause an accident," I said.

"Well, I know you don't want to share. Sorry to be in your way," he says and gets out. He then runs over to the lifeguard.

At this point, I knew it was over.

"Fine, I guess I can't use the lap lane properly," I said. "I was trying to prevent an accident but hey....whatever. I'm done. Heaven forbid anyone who follows the rules and shows common courtesy can't use this Y."

I then got my towel and left.

I've had it with the Smyrna Y. I've made numerous complaints and they do no good. No one gives a shit there. The thing that galls me is that I follow the rules, I show courtesy to other members, I try to be a reasonable, rational human being and every time I do, I get no support and have it thrown in my face. Am I the bad guy? I feel like it becasue I want to have fair access to the facilities and expect my fellow members to show me the same courtesy. I guess I should take the attitude of--me, me, me and f*** the rest of you that everyone else does. Cause that seems to get results while the nice people get screwed.

So, I'm done. You've beat me Smyrna YMCA. I won't be coming in any time soon. I'll work out downtown or in Murfreesboro. But I will not be darkening your doors any time soon.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/28/2006 07:27:00 AM | |
Don't feel bad. My husband and I went the first month they opened. The steam room had a pipe sticking out 4" where the contractor had not completed the finishout. And it was slippery as hell in there (no mats or proper tiles). So he fell. $45,000 dollars worth of medical bills later and attempts to get the Y to pay some of them, we have yet to get them to apologize or better yet pay some of our medical expenses. They are arrogant and do not appear to be the "Christian" entity they claim to be.
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    Michael/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Tennessee/Smyrna, speaks English. Eye color is brown. I am in shape. I am also creative. My interests are Reading/Swimming laps.
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