By Emanuel Jalonschi
The dust rises from the battered cement and six teenagers argue over whether "he stepped out of bounds!" or not. Across the park, there’s seven men awaiting and presiding over a game of handball.
I know it’s still April and I’m a tail and some fur short of a groundhog but I will gladly declare: Summer’s here!
We’ve frozen ourselves back and forth through the peninsula and now comes the times of the year that Far Rockaway was made for. The boardwalks are no longer isolated pathways exclusively traveled by determined joggers. Rather, we see families and people "just out for a walk" on the boardwalk.
My favorite types of sports are happening now: summer park sports.
From more organized venues (like roller hockey and little league baseball) to medium organization (pick-up softball, handball and basketball games) to unorganized (swimming and jogging), it’s the right time of year to get out there and get involved in some physical activity.
My personal favorite is pick-up basketball. There’s nothing like going to a park with some friends and a basketball and just putting it out there. I have many memories of glorious Saturdays at "Farmer’s oval" or "Sixty-eight."
This year though, seeing as I’m now a bona fide Rockawayite, I think I’ll try my hand at something new. I think this year I’ll drag the scraps of what’s left of my body into the ocean.
It’s time for Opoh to get out of the house and out of the playground. This year I’m getting into the Atlantic.
I’ve noticed that as of late, my body is going through an odd metamorphosis. I’m getting chubby. What better way to lose weight, get into cardio-vascular shape and put on some much needed muscle than to go swimming?
Now, not all parts of Rockaway are swimable. If you’re interested in swimming at the beaches here, you need to find out whether lifeguards will be stationed at your destination. Even if they are stationed at your slice of beach, the Rockaway Shore Front can be a little intense so make sure you can handle it. If you are a beginning swimmer, than the harshness of the waves out here may present a bit of a problem for you. Otherwise, dive in.
Swimming, in general, is one of the greatest sports out there, competitively or otherwise. To be a serious competitive swimmer it takes strength, discipline and rhythm.
If you just swim for the fun of it, it is one of the best and healthiest workouts you can get. You can work on your body’s overall stamina without worrying about injuries (except for the goofball stuff like swimming into a pool wall or a rock formation and of course drowning). Arms, legs, trunk and, of course, the gluteus maximus can receive a great toning from some consistent swimming. It’s also fun.
So this summer, look for a sloppy-haired scrawny pale guy on the beach. That will be me. Hopefully, we can go for a swim.