I joined the Glen Oaks family when I was four years old and since then my journey through Glen Oaks has been something that I will treasure my entire life. Whether the memories are of the annual Easter egg hunt, or the chili cook off, or even the banquet night, I will cherish these memories forever. For some Glen Oaks is just “The little pool that could” or just an average Swim Club, but to me it is so much more, Glen Oaks is my second home over the summer. I cant even imagine what it will feel like to not spend my summer mornings practicing in the pool, or spend the night after champs with all of the families eating pizza at the club. Glen Oaks will always have a special place in my heart.
Not only was the club a second home to me, but the coaches and other swimmers were my second family as well. I will never forget waking up at 5:30 every morning over the summer to go to Coach Gary’s practice, and him welcoming me with “Did you chop any onions last night at In-N-Out?” Or him telling us a set that was even too confusing for him that when we asked him to repeat it he just laughed and sent us on our next set. But overall I will truly never forget Gary’s stories and how no other coach at any other club would stop a practice just to tell us the craziest stories about their job. The annual Chili Cook Off will always be my favorite event at Glen Oaks because everyone goes just to have a good time, all of the age groups dress up according to their themes and the parents get more competitive than the kids.
Growing up at Glen Oaks I learned many things, one being that no matter what speed you are, you are still important to the team and the team wouldn’t be as strong without you. This is something that not many other clubs get to experience because they are such large clubs, because Glen Oaks is such a small team, everyone is important. The coaches at Glen Oaks truly show their compassion for swimming through their coaching, they are always there to support their swimmers and as a family we all become so close over the years. The friends I have made through Glen Oaks have been amazing, and I know that these relationships will last a lifetime because all of our kids will follow our footsteps and swim at Glen Oaks just like all of us!
Glen Oaks has taught me to never give up, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter if you are in the relay or not, there is still a spot for you to cheer on your team on the sidelines. No matter if you are in the first or second heat, you will still look over on the blocks and see another blue swimsuit representing the same team as you. My Glen Oaks experience has truly been amazing, and I will never forget these past fourteen years on this amazing team.
The only two addresses I know are 4301 Paradise Drive, Carmichael and xxxxxx, El Dorado Hills, CA. Glen Oaks Swim and Racquet club and the house I’ve lived in since I was born. These are the only two addresses I ever needed to know and these are the only two points on the world map that I could call home.
At first glance, most strangers would not receive the correct impression of the little club on paradise drive. Glen Oaks Sea Lions, the 1950s cabana club with the luxuries of our 10 foot by 5 foot snack bar, two bathrooms, a couple aging tennis courts, and two pools. Upon first entering the club, member or stranger, you receive a nice earful of Coach Roxanne’s voice screeching things like “Blow your bubbles!” and “How many times have I told you to not do that?” Coach Nancy and Lisa’s equally exhausted voices would generally be screaming, “Head back!” “Stream-line!” If you arrive early enough on a summer morning, you’ll get to experience Coach Gary yell “GET NAKED.” However, strangers to Glen Oaks wouldn’t understand all that the club offers and the wonderful people who make it a home.
Growing up, I worked hard in practice everyday. However, I did not win a race until I was 14. I learned to push myself and be confident in my hard work. Although I was just a kid, looking back I think this is where I developed much-needed perseverance. Swimming, specifically at Glen Oaks, has taught me to value hard work. This is something I use in every aspect of my life. The reason I say “specifically Glen Oaks” is because we have something not all teams are lucky enough to have. The coaches on this team are not simply coaches. They are some of the most compassionate people I have the privilege of knowing.
Nancy, Dan, Lisa and Roxanne are the definition of patient. If you’ve ever watched a 6 and under or 7-8 work out, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Every swim critique they have is repeated at least 6 times each practice. This is then repeated each day of the week throughout the summer. If I am to estimate this correctly, Coach Lisa will say, “Head back!” around 720 times in a summer. That’s a lot of effort and patients. Aside from this Nancy, Lisa, and Roxanne have been an essential part of the team for a large number of years now. Each of them cares for the person they are coaching as more than just a swimmer but an individual. Lisa and Nancy, you have both been like second parents to me and the kids on this team. We can’t thank you enough for constantly being there to support and encourage us, even when we think we don’t believe in ourselves. Roxanne, you have one of the most caring hearts and I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have you in my life, let alone as my mother. It impresses me that for 30 years you have been able to give so much love to this team and still give to everyone else in your life.
As for Gary. From questionable but hilarious humor to your growlers, you add the quirkiness that makes Glen Oaks unique. I don’t know if you understand how much of an effect you’ve had on each of us. You have managed to push us all out of our comfort zones and expand us as individuals. You’ve given us the opportunity to experience life in the most absurd and wonderful ways. I, along with others on this team, consider you family. We will never come across another Gary. For that reason we appreciate you not only for what you have done for us over the last years, but also, for the unique and unbelievably caring person you are. You will be one of the hardest people for the seniors to say “See you later” to.
The few and scattered memories I shared with you all today do not begin to cover the thousands of experiences I have had at Glen Oaks or the truly incredible relationships that I have formed. However, I hope that these small memories give you an idea of what this club means to the seniors that are moving on. To me, the unique atmosphere at Glen Oaks lies in its simplicity. I like to think of our little club—with the one deteriorating building, swaying oak trees and children running around in bathing suits—as humble and authentic. It has no extravagancies like other clubs with game rooms and saunas. Those extravagancies aren’t detrimental in any way. But Glen Oaks has a way of bringing people together, bringing people back down to what makes life worthwhile—the people we meet and the lessons we learn. Glen Oaks is not just my home but a home to all those who enter it. I think I speak for all the seniors when I say that we wouldn’t have wanted to spend our childhood any other way or with any other people.
From the seniors, I say thank you to Glen Oaks, to the coaches, and to those who’ve helped us along the way for giving us an incredible childhood and another place to call home.
Glen Oaks is the best thing that's happened to our family! Our kids love the swim team and their coaches. We love spending our summer evenings with our friends at the club. It's like stepping back in time, BBQing in the summer, playing horseshoes, enjoying movie nights floating in the pool, wine and beer tasting in the grove, letting our kids run free. You've got to check it out!
We absolutely love that our children have this club to grow up going to. It had become our second home during spring and summer. The swim coaches are amazing and we are even excited to wake up early Saturday mornings to go to swim meets!!!
It feels like our family, especially our daughter has found a home.
One of my family's favorite places to be in the summer!
Love Glen Oaks swim club! The coaching staff is amazing and my daughters learned so much in Spring swim that they decided to do Fall swim. Thanks to Roxanne and all of her coaches for their hard work and dedication.