Rutland City Pool Initiative

Rutland City Readers! 

Get out and Vote “Yes” for the Municipal Pool on March 1st!

My first memories of swimming were getting up ridiculously early in the summer time as a kid on the Rutland Swim Team and being dragged to White’s unheated pool.  I remember misty summer mornings with a distant yellow sun, barely touching the surface of the pool… which was freezing!  I remember thinking, “If I just get in and get moving, it won’t be that bad!”  So I would take the plunge and swim and swim and swim for as long as Coach Melissa would let me – thinking about everything and nothing, daydreaming about swimming the English Channel.

Rutland City Municipal Pool History:

There has been an operational municipal pool in the City of Rutland since 1929 (86 years).  From Rotary Park to White’s this has been a long standing tradition.

The previous pool at White’s was a 50 meter, typical outdoor structure with a projected life span of 25 years.  In all, it lasted 44 years before closing its doors at the end of the swim season in 2014.  It was the home to hundreds of lap swimmers, generations of swim team kids, and countless community members.  Sadly, due to the nature and extent of the repairs, the existing structure is not a viable financial enterprise to bring up to code.

The New White’s Pool:

Rutland City Pool
A thing of beauty!

The initiative to build a new pool began December 2014.  Surveys, committees and research have been conducted since that time, getting feedback from the community as to what they wanted in a municipal pool.  A plan and design was formed based on the needs of the community and with a cost efficient plan in mind.

For $2.5 million, the new 50-year structure will offer 2 separate pools with different configurations and different temperatures to support a variety of needs.

A zero entry community pool will accommodate handicapped, elderly, and small children.  A splash zone with a slide will be available in addition to areas for swim lessons (beginners, toddlers), aquasize, etc.

A 25 yard lap pool will host 6 competition lanes for lap swimming and swim teams.  A diving board area will be maintained in this area, as well.

The new grounds will feature shade areas and an updated bath house with dedicated family locker rooms.  Community rooms for public use and rental will also be added.

The Rutland City Bond:

The average home in Rutland appraises at $150K. This bond would cost the average home owner $26/yr over the life of the bond (20 yr bond). This is an average —so earlier in the life of the bond, it will actually cost more as the city will be paying more interest. At the end of the life of the bond, it will be less.     

What does a pool bring to our community?

Swim Lessons keep people of all ages safe in and around water.  Swimming is a valuable life skill that should be taught to children and adults everywhere.

Swim team and swim meets train athletes for life and provide a valuable diversity to our area sports teams.  Swim meets bring hundreds to the pool regularly.  State and regional meets bring anywhere from 1,200-1,500 folks.

With the new design, there are more opportunities to diversify the programming and offer more recreation opportunities, fitness outlets, and jobs of all kinds.

In Closing:

This is our chance to secure, for the next 50 years, a gem that has been around in our community for nearly 100 years.  White’s pool has done so much for Rutland city kids, adults and especially for me, personally.

I owe a lot to the Rutland City Recreation and Parks Department.  To White’s Pool.  To Coaches Melissa and Barb and Mary.  I would have never begun to swim if it wasn’t for the Rutland City Municipal Pool.  There is no way to measure the good it has done, the inspiration swimming has been in my life and in the lives of so many others that I have impacted in some way.

Thank you, Rutland City, for being the home of a dreamer who became a champion.  Let’s make many, many more in the years to come.


My Coach: the COACH!

In a fit of whimsy last February, I signed up for a marathon in Florida.  Nothing about Florida has ever quite agreed with me (except the friends I love who live there, of course!), but it was the longest, coldest, harshest winter I could remember and running a marathon in the heat sounded like fun.

So I chatted with a friend and paid over $100 and signed up to run with her.  I had a basic training plan in mind and figured that was all good.  Then I talked to my family down there and arranged my schedule and did all of the things.

And somewhere in the midst of my fantasy, I decided I should tell the person who inspired me to run, Judy, that I was going to run a marathon.

Before I ever ran with Judy – I hated running.  And the people I knew who ran also hated running.  So I just assumed that running was terrible and nobody liked it and maybe the only people who did like it were really, really good at it.  Or maybe they were disillusioned by their addiction.  (But swimming in freezing cold water is TOTALLY awesome and fun).

I can still remember the first couple of races I ran with Judy – my first ever 5k, a 4+ miler in the middle of the winter, and a 10k in the Fall.  She was so… happy.  All the stinkin’ time!  I was convinced by the sheer force of her positivism, that running was not miserable as I had been led to believe.

Running was fun!  It was, indeed, great fun!  And I didn’t need to be superhuman to enjoy it, either.  She loved it so entirely, I thought that there must be something about it that I could love, too.

Her spark set me on a journey to find my feet.

When I wrote to her to tell her of my marathon dreams, she confessed that she was in the process of becoming a running coach and offered to help me with my aspirations if I could help her with hers.  Winning!

I had a long, terrible, hard summer ahead of me – full of really miserable things I didn’t foresee.  I was a tough client.  And I did more than my fair share of complaining and ranting to poor Judy who was always trying to keep me positive and on track.  She always remained flexible and encouraging through all of my difficulties – injury, emotion, frustration, and scheduling.

The fact is, she was exactly what I needed.  I am ever so grateful.

Because I needed to run this past summer.  I needed to.  I don’t entirely understand it, but it did something for me that swimming couldn’t.  It made me feel strong in a way that nothing else ever has.

There were times where I found that spark, that light, that joy that I always so admired in Judy.  There were moments where I understood why people run.  There were times I found that place of perfect contentment.  And I would fight to stay there or to find that connection over and over again.

I am ever so glad to Judy for being the spark that began my journey, for being my rock through a hard time, for helping across the finish line… but mostly for being the open door in my life that led me to something about myself that I really like that I didn’t know before:

I’m a runner.

Congratulations, Judy, on your recent coaching certification.  We have both crossed the finish line!  You have always inspired me just by being who you are.  Anyone you coach will be lucky to have your wealth of knowledge, your intuition, your guidance and wisdom, and especially that bright and positive energy and love for running that you exude.  I hope you infect and inspire many more athletes to come with your boundless passion.

The Walk that Didn’t Count

“Keep on talking.
Keep on walking.
The dream is bigger than you can understand.
The vision may be yet for an appointed time.
But if you keep on walking,
you are going to wind up in the right place,
and you are going to be right on time.”
-F. Nolan Ball

It was a quiet, blissful evening.  The stars weren’t bitter with harsh winter chill. I put the leash on the dog, much to her frantic – almost panicked – delight.  I stepped into the cold night air and tugged my hat down a bit more over my ears, knowing full well it would slide right back up on my ginormous head.

Earlier that week, I had jumped in the pool and drowned my Fitbit.  Tonight, I left my phone on the kitchen counter.  This walk wouldn’t count.  It wouldn’t matter.  Tonight, nothing was counting or charting or recording or adding anything up.

“What are you doing next?” The inevitable, inescapable question of a world watching a life that has begun to leave a mark in some way floated into my thoughts from the voices earlier that week.

“Next?”  The word echoed across the empty stage of a mind full of blank canvases.

Don’t track me tonight.  Nobody has to know where I’m going or how far or how much I’ve done or my heart rate.  I won’t even know.  I will just begin here and end up back here.  As I have always done before.  One way or another.  Nobody asking what the next goal is, or the next achievement will be, or the next, or the next, or the next.

Don’t fill my mind with music, tonight.  No Audible.  They can wait.  I long for nothing but the songs and the narrative already within me.  The ancient syllables of prayers not yet heard; the pounding longing of hope and passion and endurance and faith and charity.  The dancing, spinning cascade of whatever brightness or challenge is yet within.

The sidewalk slipped by, carrying the streets and the lit houses and the dark night by my quiet footfalls.  I watched the world outside and imprinted it with my world inside – assigning names and stories and feelings.

I walked and walked – without a goal but with a purpose.  A wanderer but not lost.  I walked past Romeo, always standing on his balcony with his cigarette, texting.  The carpenter working in the dark on the roof of the house that had to be done as soon as possible, I passed him by too.  There was no time or space or anything.  I didn’t mind the creeping, telltale cold.  I kept walking.

Until I stopped on the street by a paint peeling house with one light on.  A bare bulb cast a revealing glow on the bare walls of a naked room.  But from this most unlikely harbor drifted the sound of a piano; a song and a sound of something other than winter that transformed the house it sat inside from run down and in need, to home.  The fingers traced and re-traced the patterns over the keys.  On and on, sometimes repeating the patterns until they were smooth.

I stood and I listened.  Until I was numb with cold.  Until my heart had returned to resting.  While my dog looked up at me with questions and confused eyes.

There is no goal, tonight, just purpose.  Not tonight.  Nothing matters.  Nothing counts, brown dog.  It’s you and me and the stars and the most unlikely concert hall of this street corner.

The music continued.  The light glowed.  The stars blinked in the distant blackness.  The hushed whisper of tears began behind my eyes. I knew that I was in exactly the right place.  At precisely the right time.  Everything was as perfect in this moment as it had been at any time in my life, ever.

Who could ask for anything more than that?

I wouldn’t trade it.  Not for any of the achievements in all the world.

That’s what I want next – whether I am taking my dog for a walk or swimming the English Channel – I want to always be in exactly the right place at precisely the right time.