The third annual Gig Harbor Paddlers Cup and Expo will return to the bay on Saturday and Sunday and will feature both competitive racing and vendor booths. You can read more about the event in our story on page A1.
The participation aspect gives us pause to reflect on one common phrase we hear to often from our teenagers, regardless of where we live. One of their biggest — and oldest — complaints is: There’s nothing to do.
For many young athletes, Gig Harbor’s canoe and kayak team provides a unique way to stay fit. And while our minds sometimes jump to more mainstream sports like football, basketball or baseball when we think of athletics, there are a many different ways in our area to get exercise and stay healthy.
The canoe and kayak racing team is one example. It neatly ties in a competitive sport with Gig Harbor’s heritage because it’s tied to the water. It’s also a wide-ranging sport that starts at the youth level. It takes strength and finesse, balance and discipline. And as the participants progress through the program, they can have opportunities to take part in world-class regattas at both the national and international levels.
In addition to the various athletic options offered through the Peninsula School District, there are ways to get involved outside of classroom. There is no shortage of youth sports in the area with organizations such as the Peninsula Athletic Association. The Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District and Key Pen Parks also offer leagues and workshops, from soccer for toddlers all the way up to spring break camps and beyond.
Kids can also can involved with swimming or wrestling clubs, as well as year-around AAU basketball leagues.
If you’re looking for something a little less conventional, take up an archery class at the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club, or try some BMX racing or skateboarding at the skate park near the Gig Harbor Civic Center.
For a free or low-cost activity that takes advantage of the area’s beautiful scenery, take up jogging or biking. Riding or running across the Narrows Bridge or through downtown Gig Harbor can give you a newfound appreciation for the area’s natural beauty. Take a walk on the Cushman trail. Or look for special organized events, such as the Maritime Gig Fun Run, the Over the Narrows Run, the Race for a Soldier half-marathon or the Turkey Trot, to name only a few.
If you’re not afraid to get a little dirty, there are ample hiking and camping opportunities in our area. Check out Kopachuck, Penrose Point or Joemma Beach state park for some beach hikes, or the Narrows Park, which overlooks the waterway with views of Tacoma and University Place.
There are several golf courses in the area, both public and private, and there’s a place to straighten out your wayward drives at Performance Golf Center. There are many other opportunities, such as beachcoming or sailing, street scramble scavenger hunts or geocaching.
If you think outside the box, you can always find something to do. A little exercise can go a long way toward building self-esteem and a sense of community.