Sharon Chandler Competing in Life

Sharon A lesson in courage and grace

Bellingham Athletic Club was privileged to witness a powerful lesson this past Northwest Open Racquetball Tournament. Sharon Chandler is an accomplished racquetball player competing at the Women’s A/Elite level Singles and Doubles Tournaments throughout the Northwest. With her long time partner JoAnn Johnson, Sharon also travelled yearly to successfully compete at many Women’s Senior Master National Championships. Sharon is a caring, genuine woman who made racquetball a big part of her life. Wanda Collins BAC’s Racquetball Pro reminisces: I have learned a lot about the game from her over the years: she has always been an integral part of the racquetball program at BAC. We watched her daughters grow up at the club and she was one of the first to make this a family place: she embraced ALL of us as part of her racquetball family. Sharon is a life loving, honest athlete who has influenced a multitude of members and made our lives better by knowing her on and of the court.

Sharon was diagnosed with lung cancer July 2013, and of this writing is given only months to live. Although struggling with weight loss, energy loss and pain she has continued to play racquetball. So it was a bit of surprise as the Northwest Open Tournament loomed that she asked fellow morning player Karin Hoekema if she wanted to play doubles. Karin agreed, little knowing the incredible journey awaiting her. Karin and Sharon had 3 matches to play over the tournament weekend, they made it through to the finals! Their match was the last one of the tournament, a long weekend for everyone starting Thursday and ending Sunday evening. Normally the crowd would have thinned, but all stayed to watch and support Sharon and Karin in their bid to win their doubles division. They won the first game, lost the second game; requiring a tiebreaker game to 11. The players watching were clapping and cheering. Sharon was spent, battling nausea the whole match. All were worried that she would not be able to complete the game. Out she came from the locker room, a little unsteady, but with her smile firmly in place. I’ll let Sharon’s partner Karin pick up the story from here:

“Based on Sharon’s lack of energy by now and multiple trips to the restroom where she had been vomiting I felt we could notpull it off. Our last game, a tie-breaker to 11, proved long and tiring. We were down initially so I just accepted we weren’tgoing to win. “At least Sharon would have some enjoyment and undoubtedly feel the love of her friends and fans” I thought. With each classic winning shot so characteristic of Sharon, the crowd roared with cheers and was seen to do the “wave” a few times in praise. I was so proud of her!

Somehow we hung in there and it was 9-10. Our opponents each had a turn serving and chance to pick up the one winning point. A miracle for us, this did not happen. I served 9-10 and got us up to 10-10. The pressure was mounting. All eyes from the gallery were on us. My internal pressure was intense on top of my physical exhaustion (along with Sharon’s). Before serving I faced the crowd, put my hands together, looked up and asked God to please let this happen. Shockingly, we won 11-10. I hugged Sharon and, stepping out of the court overwhelmed with emotion, cried. Such mixed feelings of joy for Sharon, witnessing the love expressed by those observers, sympathy for her evident pain and sickness, and a realization this was probably her last hurrah. I went into this experience with hopes of being a blessing to my dying friend but came out being incredibly blessed by her! She has shown me and many others how to live everyday to the fullest despite knowing the end is near. She has not given up. She is still active, joyful in spirit, and loving. What a testament!”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Recounting the story at our staf meeting following the tournament had the same result. We are so blessed to be part of the BAC family, such caring support for whatever challenges our members face. They are there for each other, pitching in if rides or meals are needed, encouragement, congratulations, or condolences. I couldn’t have picked a better partner for Sharon, Karin Hoekema handled the difcult weekend with such grace and caring for a terrific BAC member. As Mili Blok
said “it was so moving just to feel the love and see the tears and to just realize that what happened that night was just an awesome example true deep friendship and love! “    Sharon and Karin, you are an inspiration to us all. Thanks for showing us how to live well and face our own challenges.

Freaky Friday Night Out!

Come join us at FREAKY FRIDAY NIGHT OUT! The kids will have a “Howlin’ Good Time” full of Halloween themed games, swimming, pizza, popcorn, apple cider, prizes AND jumping around in a bouncy house!! Your child will not want to miss out on this “spooktacular” party! Costumes are strongly encouraged.

When: Friday, October 25th 2013
Time: 6:00-10:00pm
Cost: $25 for members – $30 for non-members $5 off for siblings
Sign up at the Front Desk if you dare…

Software Update

Be on the lookout for our new club management software, which will bring a host of customer service enhancements. We will be taking everyone’s pictures so we will have those electronically attached to each members account. There will be a lot of features
available online as well, from lap lane reservations to tanning and racquetball, all should be able to be booked online. Have some patience as we learn the new software and get proficient at its use. Our first billing with the new CSI system will
take place in September, because of Labor Day billing will come out on the 3rd of September instead of the 1st. Everyone who has auto payments set up should get an email statement from us. If your email has changed or we don’t have it, please turn in the info at the front desk.

Pool Safety

Summertime is getting closer and many of us are getting ready for some much-needed time outside and around the water. Don’t forget the best way to prevent an accident is to be prepared! Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while you and your family are having fun in the sun.

  • Never use inflatable arm floaties as a safety or life-saving device!!! They are very likely to slip off while the child is swimming, and also put children in the wrong position to learn how to swim properly.
  • Never turn your back on your children while they are in the water, even for a few seconds. That is all it takes for an accident to occur! Stay alert, and if you need a break from the pool or the sun, then your child
  • probably does as well.
  • Make sure to properly fit lifejackets for your children. (An easy test is to pull the shoulders up towards the ears once it is on your child. If it goes up over their ears, it is too big.)
  • Very small children (under 2 yrs old) should wear lifejackets that have a head support, so they will be forced to roll to their back when in the water.

BioPlex Nutrition

BAC is happy to announce that we are now carrying the BioPlex Nutrition line of products in our Pro Shops! BioPlex Nutrition is one of the top manufacturers of protein, colostrum, and creatine in the country. Best of all they are a Whatcom County
company with their manufacturing plant located in Blaine, WA. If you have questions on which BioPlex products might be best for you or if you would like more information regarding their products please contact one of our Personal Training staff.

How My Health Club Changed My Life

We want to know what keeps you going here at BAC. We’re looking for stories about how BAC has changed your life. If you’ve been exercising without inspiration, we are urging you to “Find Your Reason”. This is your chance to spend a little time thinking about what would inspire you to get in the best shape of your life. The contest will conclude December 20th. Please share your stories by emailing them to Member Services then check our website and Facebook page in January to get enthused on your own road to fitness.