Two sports groups that fall under the Columbia Association umbrella attended meetings in February requesting that the board of directors build new facilities for their respective programs. It's tennis vs. swimming, with each community trying to convince board members that they need the facility more than the other. At two separate board meetings, tennis supporters championed an already proposed indoor facility to replace the aging Owen Brown Tennis Club. Then came the swimming advocates in support of a new indoor swimming facility. In my opinion, they both have legitimate claims.
The swimmers need a 50-meter pool, which they know will be difficult to get. The Masters swimmers need even more space. The lesson programs could be greatly expanded, and the lap swimmers need more hours. The Clippers have to share space, and yes, we may be one of the only counties without a 50-meter pool. Simply put, the swimming community needs more room, something it has fought hard for in the last decade.
Here's the tennis argument: The Club has a great deal of age on it, and I am told of a proposal to build a new indoor facility in the Sports Park area. I have visited this dated facility on a number of occasions and, to me, it looks like it has served its purpose but it may be nearing the end. Still, it cannot come down before a new facility is built because it represents more than 50 percent of the number of indoor courts available.
Throughout this discussion about who gets what and when, I must admit that I haven't heard anyone on either side criticize the other — a sign of good nature in the rec sports community. Whatever the conclusion the board decides upon, one thing is certain: the need for additional facilities is a real issue that will not go away in the near future. As a community, this type of argument must be carefully considered, and though a solution may not come this year, hopefully it will soon.
'Zaching' lives on
Once in a while, even this seasoned reporter is pleasantly surprised. That was the case March 21 at the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, as the Howard County community came together to celebrate the life of Zach Lederer. Those packed in the pews were asked to stand and strike the "Zaching" pose, which the cancer-stricken University of Maryland student made famous from his bedside, and was subsequently copied by millions around the world. Something tells me this gesture will never be forgotten. Zach may be physically gone, but he stays in the hearts of many through that pose.
He served as a means of inspiring us to do better, and to see the best in life.
Remembering Jim Hudec
I recently received word that Jim Hudec, an old friend of mine during my days with the Defense Department at Fort Meade, had passed away Feb 24 in Celebration, Fla. Many of his coworkers and friends admired him for his honesty and integrity. His wife Marge sent me a note stating that they used to live in Columbia, and that their sons Jamie and Jeff played sports here. She also told me that her granddaughter, Annie Hudec, plays soccer at Wilde Lake High School. Annie already knows how great her grandfather was, and we only want to echo that sentiment. He was one of a kind, and will be missed by many of us who knew him.
McFadden shines in Sochi
Shoutouts to local celebrity Tatyana McFadden never get old for me. This unbelievable athlete made the transition to winter sports much better than I expected. She may not have dominated like she has in wheelchair marathons, but she captured a silver in the 1K Sit Ski, as well fifth and seventh place finishes in other races at the Sochi Paralympics. It was wonderful to watch. The fact that she went up against world-class athletes in a sport foreign to her proves that she enjoys competition against the world's best.