By SEAN BARRON
If you drove through a portion of Mill Creek MetroParks on Saturday, you may have noticed battle lines being drawn on several fronts.
It was family-like friendliness, not firepower, being exchanged.
“It brings a lot of people at our agency together for the simple fact that people want to be healthy,” Marisa Litch said, referring to her participation in Saturday’s 22nd annual Youngstown Area Community Cup, organized by the Central YMCA.
Litch, a nine-year caseworker with Mahoning County Children Services Board, was one of 10 members of her agency’s team that took part in a tug-of-war contest as part of the Community Cup, at Morley Pavilion in the park’s James Wick Recreation Area.
Saturday’s other events were an obstacle course, a 3-mile time-prediction walk and a 10-kilometer run. A 20-mile time-prediction bicycle competition was canceled because of a thunderstorm.
In addition to promoting health and fitness, the Cup has encouraged many CSB workers to eat well and has boosted morale, Litch noted, adding that about 85
fellow employees have participated in the Community Cup since it got under way in late August.
For Saturday’s tug-of-war, 20 teams were divided into the red, white and blue divisions, depending mainly on company size, team experience and level of competitiveness. Points were awarded for the position they finished, as well as for those who brought volunteers.
Teams representing Humility of Mary Health Partners, CSB, Meridian Community Care, Farmers National Bank, the Mahoning County Educational Service Center and several other entities competed against those in their divisions.
Competing teams picked up two 150-foot-long ropes stretched across a football field and stood on either side of a red-and-white pole that acted as the midpoint. Most rounds took less than a minute, and a double-elimination process was set up in each division.
Each tug-of-war team had eight to 10 members, most with the same number of men and women, noted Julie Walker, the event’s assistant director.
For the sake of fairness, team members’ collective weight was not to exceed 2,000 pounds, Walker explained, adding that exceeding that benchmark meant elimination for that round.
“I’m a weekend warrior,” a tired but exuberant Kevin Brogley of Canfield said after his team finished a tug-of-war round.
Brogley, who works for Mahoning County Info Tech, said he’s participated in the Cup for more than 20 years.
Brogley’s team came in first place in the obstacle-course competition by about 0.2 seconds, he continued.
The Community Cup began the last weekend of August and included swimming, bowling, basketball and volleyball, noted Jennifer Quinlan, director.
Also part of the event was the Youngstown Meltdown, a 16-week weight-loss competition that started last May.
The Cup also featured several games and activities for children, including the first noncompetitive tug-of-war for youngsters, she said.