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It was near the very end of all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening of Abraham Lincoln’s new fitness center that I heard something that really hit home.
Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island), who played a large part in securing funding for the facility, mentioned how one of Mayor Bloomberg’s answers to the city’s obesity epidemic was to ban large sugary drinks. Recchia has a different vision that just makes more sense after all the gym improvements I’ve covered over the years.
“Give them programs and places they can exercise and you’ll see our students start losing weight much faster,” Recchia said.
I couldn’t agree more.
I went to St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows and played basketball there. Before the school recently built a multi-million-dollar facility, the weight rooms were a garage and an equipment closet in the basement, which I didn’t visit once in my four years there.
Had there been a larger and more modern facility, I would have been more eager to work out and invited others to do the same. I may have even made a few more jump shots.
Lincoln quarterback Javon Moore believes that can be the case in Coney Island also. He can’t wait to get into the new room even after injuring his ankle in the title game.
“Kids are just going to see the weight room and they are going to want to stay healthy,” Moore said. “They are going to want to come in here because it’s so nice.”
The Railsplitters had been using a room half the size of the new facility. This season the players were forced to lug their old workout machines and rusty weights into a nearby classroom after five feet of floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy set back work on the new fitness center by nearly a year.
“I’m hoping it is just going to open their eyes and motive them more to get in here and work harder and to know that people out there care about them,” Lincoln coach Shawn O’Connor said of his players.
Don’t get me wrong — the construction of the fitness center is as much about helping to continue the success of Lincoln’s athletic programs — especially the championship football and basketball teams — as it is anything else. But it can’t just be about that.
“Let this not only be for the team and future, but for you students as well — students who desperately need to get into an exercise regimen,” said Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz.
Gym memberships are expensive and motivation to work out in a world filled with Xbox’s and iPads is hard to come by. Any incentive we can give our kids to keep themselves healthy is priceless.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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