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Spilled Milk and Skinned Knees

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Treehouse at the Kroc Center Treehouse at the Kroc Center

The Kroc Center overtakes Madden as the "greatest thing ever invented."

Not many people north of the beautiful city of Coeur d’Alene have had the chance to experience one of the greatest things to ever happen to the wonderful  Northwest. I used to think the Madden video game franchise and the ‘hitstick’ was the greatest thing ever to be invented. I was wrong. Sorry to John and everyone at EA Sports, but your title has been formally usurped by what is known as The Kroc Center.  

The Kroc, as we like to call it, is a wonderful facility that sits just below the Coeur d’Alene sunset on the corner of Golf Course Rd. and Ramsey. As I recall from my more naïve self of two years past. I remember driving to school at NIC along the previously mentioned road of Ramsey. As I passed the Ramsey baseball fields I noticed they were constructing new traffic lights for a meaningless intersection. I was heading south; on the east side of this intersection was a government-owned rock pit. Nobody could pass through the intersection to the east. To the west was Golf Course Rd. Although it goes to the Coeur d’Alene Public golf course, it has no significant amount of traffic that would require a stop light. For the next week I was puzzled as to why this traffic light was going to be put up. It could easily add five minutes to my time from home to school, which would take away five minutes that I could use to sleep in the morning. Needless to say, I was pissed.

After that school year I moved back home and completely forgot about the ‘traffic light to nowhere.’ But now that traffic light has returned, and become more powerful than I could ever have imagined.

When I heard that the Kroc Center was opening I was excited to go down and see the new building. But I had no idea what to expect when I got there. As we approached the intersection I had previously hated with so much passion, my heart was filled with glee, as if the tooth under my pillow had been magically replaced with a crisp dollar bill. The final product of what had been the nucleus of all my adolescent hatred was now going to be the gateway to a cataclysmic wave of happiness.

Bill Clayton and I drove into the parking lot and the tires of my car were gently greeted with the smoothest surface of asphalt in town. As I laid my car to rest in its gentle new bed of a parking spot, my companion and I quickly headed to the front doors. It was crowded. The facility had not officially opened, today was just an open house. That saddened us, but we pushed on because we had to see what was inside.

As we walked in our skin tasted the cool, refreshing air conditioning that has not yet been needed since the temperature that day was a year-high 70 degrees. Friendly people were as plentiful as water in Atlantis. We decided the tour was just going to slow us down and that we could see everything on our own.

The main lobby features more than enough seating room and a wonderful coffee and smoothie shop. We passed the check-in desks that were lined up with people signing their families up for new inexpensive memberships. A family of five can enjoy the commodities of the establishment for as little as 55 dollars a month.

We passed the gates that separate the lobby from the actual fitness area and immediately headed to what looks like a gym. We were wrong; what we thought was a gym was actually a stadium. Three basketball courts, eight basketball rims hanging from brand new professional glass backboards, and a synthetic rubber court that bounces like hardwood but feels like a pillow to the unsuspecting crash of a basketball player.

The large room that is the basketball courts lays directly north of the 30 foot wide hallway that houses hundreds of brand new machines that range from bench press bars, treadmills, bicycles, and curling bars. Anything you could possibly imagine is there and as fresh as the legs of Lebron James tonight as he turns the series around against the Magic. (Mark my words, Cleveland and Los Angeles will play in the Finals.) On the south side of the hallway is an Olympic sized swimming pool with competition lanes, starting boards for races, and stadium seating for the spectators of the high school swim matches that will be held here in the future. East of this swimming pool is another pool for the less competitive. Equipped with hot tubs and a lazy river, you’d think they did enough, but they went a step further with a bright yellow waterslide.

The co-ed locker rooms are nothing short of five-star as well. Several changing ‘cabanas’ are spread out amongst the lockers that are free for people to use. The Kroc Center really outdid themselves for the community when they are offering memberships for cheaper than most ordinary gym memberships in the city. For anybody that wants to join, you can get a membership for as little as 28 dollars a month.

I have found myself a new love interest and her name is KROC!!

The Salvation Army Kroc Center is located at 1765 W. Golf Course Rd. in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and is open Monday through Friday from 5 am to 10 pm, Saturdays from 7 am to 10 pm, and Sundays from 8 am to 7 pm. Membership is required; rates begin at $8 per month (children aged 0-11) up to $62 per month for a family of more than five people. Scholarships are available for low income participants. Day passes may be purchased for up to $8 per day.  Phone them at 208-667-1865

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Dustin Gannon Dustin Gannon says he's a writer because his mama owns a newspaper. At all other times, he's a sportsman, writing both the Sno Biz column, when he's working at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the wintertime, and Fore! Play, when he's working at the Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course during the summer.

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