For this writer, there is one and only Y

From the enthusiasm of people working out to the camaraderie on the racquetball courts, the Bahia Vista facility offers much to appreciate

Harriet Cuthbert. Contributed photo
Harriet Cuthbert. Contributed photo

Every time I leave the Y after my workout, I feel better. Sometimes that is just a physical reaction; sometimes, just a mental one; and sometimes, both. Watching people demonstrating a high level of motivation inspires me; their enthusiasm is contagious.

It seems to me that everyone comes to the Y on Bahia Vista Street in Sarasota, including the editor of The Sarasota News Leader. They have not quit coming over the years — and they never will.

The positive vibes start right in the parking lot. I watch as people almost jump out of their cars, sports bags in hand, and then power-walk to the building, ready to start their day. The welcoming smiles of the staff certainly add to the good feelings. The members get their cards scanned and off they go, picking their favorite workouts from among many choices.

I am usually in the main room (the gym), biking away and then lifting weights to get toned arms for tennis. My “colleagues” are of all ages (some would say ageless), and even the handicapped members are working hard to improve their physical strength. The multi-task-ers on the bikes who read and listen to tunes on their iPods are fun to observe. They definitely do not want to waste a minute.

Studio A is always packed with hard-bodied people punching, stepping or lifting to a booming beat. I could not begin to guess their ages and I really do not want to.

A fantastic childcare center is included in the cost of membership, and its staff is exceptionally attentive to the little ones.

In a recent “survey,” I wandered down the hall that houses the administrative offices and arrived at the other wing of this wondrous Y. Welcome to racquetball! Five courts — they always appear to be in use — were seemingly created for men of a certain age who definitely have not quit any game. Even though this is not really a private club, it was obvious that most of the players knew each other as long-time regulars. They raced to their courts, ankles taped, knees in braces, even some with elbow sleeves. Nothing matters but the fact that they are still healthy and still able to play their game.

And then there was Studio B, a refuge of quiet and serenity as the yoga class was in session. People focused on their correct positions and their breathing. What a contrast to racquetball.

I finished my tour and circled back to the main reception area where the “guys” who always meet there after their workouts were enjoying a friendly card game. And the women seemed to be catching up on the latest gossip. Did I mention the coffee is excellent?

I knew I would be back the next day and for as many more days as possible. Why not? I cannot resist.