Let’s talk about wristbands. These are the colourful Tyvek bands that you get around your wrist when you pay the admission fee at the community complex and what gives you access to all parts of the building, such as skating, swimming, fitness centre and drop-in programs (of course, at the appropriate times) for the entire day. This means once you get one, you can leave and come back as many times as you want within that day for drop-in skating or a workout in the gym, perhaps go for a swim or hot tub, or attend a drop-in fitness program sometime over the approximately 13 hours the amenities are open. Each day, we change up the colour of the band, so at least once over the month it should match your ensemble.
Using wristbands is fairly common at recreation facilities that utilize a membership system with multiple activities or even to track who has paid at a single facility. I seem to recall one recreation centre that we visited in Calgary that was using them some 15 or 20 years ago. They are pretty durable as you can swim or work out and the most you do is wrinkle them up a bit; it’s actually the same stuff (spun olefin fibres) that they use as house wrap on outsides of buildings in place of tarpaper. So while it is possible to cover the outside of your new garage, it will take a while and require a lot of Tuck Tape.
So, as mentioned, the band is what enables staff at a glance (in most cases) to be able to tell who has paid admission and who hasn’t and, like many things in this world, keep the honest people honest. This is probably why when we introduced them prior to opening the “new improved” community complex, the majority of people understood the reasoning of why were headed this direction. Prior to that, we did have some “issues” with people forgetting to pay when they came in, for instance, to play shinny hockey. I’m not sure if you recall how our front counter used to face out into the old lobby, but I remember one day hearing a weird sliding sound but no one was there. Upon leaning over the counter, we discovered a couple lads that were perfecting the technique of trench warfare by scrunching down below the window and dragging their hockey bags behind them. That was back in the day when we would count the admissions we had taken, then count the people on the ice and in the event of discrepancy, stop the game and gather everyone around to find out who didn’t pony up the four or five bucks.
Luckily those days are over. Wait, maybe not — the other day over Christmas vacation when our numbers swell, I heard the frustrated calling of our customer service rep trying to get a few drop-in hockey players to come and pay before they went to the change rooms, to no avail. Walking down to the change rooms and having to ask to see wristbands was a total flashback to Grade 3 or 4 when we had to hold up our pencil crayons to show the teacher before going to the art room. Except these were mostly adults. In a taxpayer subsidized facility where the $6.80 (including tax) admission gets you a wristband that lets you also use the pool and fitness centre along with the skating rink. The frustrating part is that one or two never paid on the way out, either. Not restricted to the arena, we also keep a diligent eye open in the pool and fitness centre, as well.
So that’s the evolution of the wristband at our facility and, frankly, people have adapted to it graciously since its inception. Hopefully this provides a bit of understanding towards why we use it and we appreciate your patience if we happen to do a check here and there.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.