I’d like to address the people of Great Bend as I addressed BCCC’s Trustess regarding the future of the campus’ swimming pool.
I am a 1999 GBHS graduate and was a member of the swim team for 3 years. It was an experience which offered me a chance for alternative athletic competition, and for those who did not have a passion for more popular sports such as football or basketball, but still wanted to strive for physical fitness. More than this, competitive swimming offered a chance for continual self-improvement, both physically and mentally. Coach Larry Becker taught us it didn’t matter how we compared to our competitors half as much as how we improved ourselves. For many students, the swim team is a vital sport to learn that the toughest opponent we will often face is ourselves--our own drive and our own determination.
While swimming may not be as popular a sport in a community like Great Bend as others, I would argue there has been and will continue to be enough young people going through high school who will need an environment which accepts them as they are, as well as allow them the chance to see how they are able to be more than perhaps they thought.
I realize this does not address the reality of the financial situation the campus is in, but the other reality is the community of Great Bend is one which is populated by many who have the means to support the necessity of BCCC’s swimming pool to continue. My father, Chuck Smith, in his time with the Great Bend Tribune, was a man who knew many in the community, and I was always proud that he saw the many sides to Great Bend and its people. In hearing stories he would tell me of the leaders and individuals of the town I grew up in, I know there exists the heart and support to keep the BCCC pool open. I ask that those in power believe in the people of Great Bend and continue to give the students of GBHS the opportunity to have a swim team.
Andy Whitaker Smith