Co-workers, friends and family helped cheer on their teams.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Teams from at least a dozen companies crowded the playing field at Wick Recreation Area in Mill Creek Park for the final day of Community Cup competitions.
Each team, with members dressed in matching T-shirts, competed Saturday in a variety of events, including a relay race in which participants had to run the length of the field with one end of the tug-of-war rope, stretching it across the playing area before handing the baton off to a teammate waiting to jump rope.
The rope jumper handed the baton off to the next teammate, and the competition continued as participants completed running through a series of tires spread across one area of the field, tossing horse shoes and running through an obstacle course.
Last year, Robert Jackson, 37, of Youngstown participated in the bowling competition for the team from Community Development Association, where his wife works. This year, positions on the bowling team were filled, so he volunteered to fill in wherever he was needed.
"I was nominated to run with the rope," he said.
Starting at one end of the playing area, Jackson ran the length of the field with one end of the rope. When he reached the far end, he dropped the rope, picked up the other end, and ran back to the starting position as fast as he could.
Wiping perspiration from his forehead with the back of his hand and trying to catch his breath, Jackson said, "That rope's heavier than I thought."
He didn't practice, so the competition was his first experience carrying the rope.
Next year, Jackson said, he's going to return to competing in the bowling event and, if the team needs him, he also will participate in the relay by running with the rope.
Jackson said he'll be better prepared. "Maybe I'll lift a little -- that rope is heavy, a lot heavier than I thought."
"It's a lot harder than it looks," agreed Marcella Bolha, 28, of Youngstown. She ran with the rope in the relay for the D.D. Davis YMCA team from Boardman.
The YMCA had teams from its downtown facility and Boardman branch.
Bolha, a fitness trainer at the YMCA, practiced running the field with the rope Saturday morning before competitions began.
Although it was more difficult than she expected, Bolha said she still had fun, and the practice run helped prepare her.
But practice doesn't always pay off.
Julie Corso, 39, of Poland jumped rope for her team, Trustmark Insurance, in the relay and couldn't complete the required 10 jumps in a row. She kept tripping on the rope, which seemed to catch on the grass in the field.
"I practiced in my garage with a weighted rope," she explained. "I didn't expect to be jumping in the grass with a light rope."
Her replacement couldn't complete 10 jumps in a row either, so a third team member had to be called in.
Over the years
The Community Cup started 15 years ago and over that time has helped an estimated 10,000 local workers team up with their co-workers to improve their health, said Tom Grantonic, of the YMCA and former Community Cup director.
This year, 1,500 employees and family members from about 20 companies participated in 14 events ranging from a banner competition to swimming, biking and tug-of-war, Grantonic said.
Co-workers, friends and family crowded the sidelines to help cheer on their teams and socialized over a variety of catered and pot-luck lunches inside company tents.
Aut Mori clowns, an inflatable slide and rock-climbing wall completed the festivities and kept the children entertained.