Why the Y

The sweltering summer heat has warmed us to the exhortation of our friends who are members of the local swim club to also join. My wife has been looking for a gym to join to get her swim on, since it seems every time she runs she sustains a serious injury. The kids are ready for some extra-curricular activities, like soccer and basketball and ballet and hip-hop. And I have been contemplating something to spice up my long-standing exercise cycle of running, biking, push-ups, and sit-ups. What to do, what to do?

Enter the Y. That would be the YMCA, of course. And, voila, it is the answer to all of our questions. Membership gets you year-round pool privileges, at well below the price of the local swim club (which is only open during the summer). The pool closes at 9 on weekday evenings, leaving Amy plenty of time to get some laps in after the kids go to bed but well before her bedtime. There's a full complement of classes for Aaron and Jada, which I have marked down for the next 12 months, plus some free adult classes Amy is intrigued by. (Pilates? Spinning? Sure, why not?) And I'll be able to add swimming and lifting to my workout routine. (Heck, I could even play pick-up hoops, something I haven't done in years. Well, maybe not; at my age, I'm bound to pull or twist something.)

I think there's something homey about joining the Y. The local swim club's annual dues are jaw-dropping, Amy's other gym choice (on the Penn campus) would have been jam-packed with young and beautiful Penn kids, and a lot of the other extra-curricular options we looked into for our kids seemed a little snooty. The Y, on 52nd and Chestnut in the heart of West Philadelphia, is a lot less high-brow, without being too ghetto. For some reason, joining the Y, signing our kids up for classes, and getting involved in the community there feels a little like something the Huxtables would do: good, clean fun, not too pretentious, and not too scuzzy.

In other words, just about right for the Huangs, circa 2011. Although should Aaron or Jada quickly demonstrate star potential in sports or performance, you best believe we will be pulling them out in a minute and getting them in whatever is the premier academy for that activity. Just kidding. (Or am I?)

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