Letter: Old Y was a memorable second home‘Y’ was that place so important? It was just an old brick building, right? ‘Y’ did droves of kids and adults show up there each day? Surely there were fancier places to go.
By: Joe Klumper, Worthington YMCA graduate, Sioux Falls, S.D., Worthington Daily Globe
‘Y’ was that place so important? It was just an old brick building, right?
‘Y’ did droves of kids and adults show up there each day? Surely there were fancier places to go.
‘Y’ is its destruction a sad day for many people? After all, it is vacant and not being used — a brand new building will replace it.
To those that knew it, the Y was more than a gym, more than a track and weights and a pool; it was more than an old, often falling apart building in downtown.
To have grown up going to the Y, one surely feels a connection to it, unbreakable no matter the growing separation of time. This proves true for many reasons.
* Waking up hours before a game because I contend there is no childhood experience quite like Saturday basketball. As games intensify, everyday friends turn into bitter rivals because today that game was theirs.
* Hours of ball tag, chasing friends in and around the many nooks of this old building.
* Children and adults alike, dozens arriving at the Y earlier on a snow day than they would have to school.
* For three years spent eating lunch with my dad in its old kitchen.
You see, this place was more than what most people think. Often it seemed a living, breathing organism. Basketballs pounding overhead, squeaking shoes, clanging iron plates provided the irregular heartbeat of the Y.
It was not fancy, it was often not terribly clean, but this place had character.
Character cannot be mapped on a blueprint or planned from a building’s birth. Character is slowly grown, harvested over many years of wear, tear and age.
Wearing light-colored shorts to lift weights was a mistake. Rusting metal from placid moisture and sweat surely would leave its mark. Chipping paint, eroding facade, destroyed gym ceilings, rooms too eerie to enter. That’s character.
Character is being built before World War II. Surviving the years that followed, seeing endless changes take place around it while remaining a community staple.
Character is leaving an imprint on every person who entered those doors, whether be it once or a thousand times. Character ingrains countless memories in the minds of men, women and kids who worked, played or hung out there. Maybe this place helped you train to achieve your dreams and goals.
Maybe this place let you see friends, teammates, or opponents over whom you relished victory. Maybe this place provided more time with family.
Maybe this place gave you a place to go when anywhere else didn’t feel safe.
Maybe, and just maybe, this place will continue to live in our hearts, our minds and our memories. Thank you for all of them.