Swimming

Our family is, and always has been, very involved with swimming. Because my younger brothers were so fast (I wasn't), much of my childhood was spent schlepping around the midwest for weekend swim meets. Hello Holidome! Centered out of St. Louis, we were all over Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and even down to Memphis…. an armada of station wagons with electronic football gadgets and towels over our heads… in pursuit of more regional records for my bros' all-star relay team to destroy. One of those 4 went on to be a swimming star at Stanford.

Anthony Ervin is attempting his Olympic comeback in 2012.

Anthony Ervin is a famous swimmer who has been coaching my kids on the Oakland Undercurrent swim team for the past year or so.

The Island just posted my editorial about sports in Alameda:

Have you ever heard the expression “Alameda is a three-sport town”?

Which ones do they mean, anyway? The three big American pro sports (baseball, basketball, and football)? Or do they mean baseball, soccer, and badminton?

Got me. In our family, the first sports that come to mind are swimming and water polo. Our neighbors are into swimming, football, and soccer. On the other side, it’s basketball, basketball basketball. Which are the three?

Alameda seems to have a lot of good teams. The Encinal Jets made it to the final round in division football for the second year in a row. Alameda High has a competitive football team too. Is football one of the three?

Maybe water polo belongs in there. Alameda has five teams: Two at each high school and an upstart independent club that is competing around the region. The Gentlemen Hornets just won their division for the second year in a row. The co-ed club gets quite a big turnout, even on cold winter nights.

Speaking of champions, ACLC is reigning state champion in ultimate Frisbee. Nice job, but is it one of the three?

Maybe golf is in there. We have an Alameda High School student who just became California’s top girls golfer. Don’t forget cross-country and track. You can’t shake a stick without tripping a runner on this Island. Surely that’s a top three?

Seeing older folks out on bikes is one of my favorite things in this town. Where else in the country does that happen? Seems biking is pretty darned popular in Alameda.

Don’t even get me started on swimming. We have two age group teams, four high school teams, and three masters groups. We have swimmers who have participated in Olympic trials, gone on to full college scholarships, and youngsters who are dominating at the regional level. One of our girls was just named Most Outstanding Swimmer by Pacific Swimming.

And how many martial arts studios are there in the area? I imagine we could fill an auditorium if there was ever a casting call for a kids’ action film. I know of a Kuk Sool black belt who also – representing Alameda – is a state judo champion.

Volleyball is popular here too. I know this because it wreaks havoc on our parking scene at swim practice. But volleyball is surprisingly fun to watch. And I know there must be hundreds of Alamedans who play tennis. If we group the bouncing-ball sports into one (including the table tennis club), maybe that’s one of the three?

Look around the perimeter of Alameda and there are even more sports going on. We have thousands of sailboats, roughly 10 yacht clubs, and a world-class youth sailing program. The kite surfing scene out at Crown Beach is off the rails. Where else do you do that? And if I’m not mistaken, there are more than a few Alamedans who row with the Oakland Strokes in the estuary. All those water sports are fun to watch too.

So which are the the esteemed “three sports in Alameda” that deserve our respect and support? I guess it depends on who you talk to.

The BIRTHDAY BUTTER is an Alameda tradition. You have to swim through the gauntlet -- swimming butterfly -- while all of the other swimmers splash and rock you with waves from their kickboards.

It was destined. Boegers once again roam the competitive swimming world. While Kirk is coaching a team down in the Virgin Islands, Simon recently joined the Alameda Islanders -- an activity certain to command our mornings, weeknights, and every 3rd weekend for the next 10 years! Good God... I swore this would not happen again, but we somehow pulled ourselves in.

Here we are riding our bikes around Yosemite. The waterfalls were dry but we had a blast cruising around.