One day I was walking up the ramp on the way to exercise at the Mission Valley Y. At the top was a statue and from a distance I couldn’t tell what it was. When I got to the top of the ramp I saw it was a statue of Bill Walton a well-known San Diego basketball player from the past. The strange part to me was that he was standing behind a bike. No basketball in sight. His hands were held high in a rejoicing pose. His body making the shape of a Y. The plaque stated that the Y had saved his life.
Well that got my curiosity up. What was his health problem and why was there a bike? I had to find out . It turns out that he has suffered from severe back pain and endured many surgeries. The pain had become unbearable and he had even thought about taking his life to end the pain. His last surgery and a daily morning workout at the Y has given him relief. That is why it says the Y has saved his life.
What about the bike? Apparently he has loved riding a bike all his life. He goes on long bike rides stops for lunch and then gets back on the bike. You are likely to see Bill Walton biking past you around San Diego. I have seen him working out at the Y. He is hard to miss with his height and big smile.koo
When I was first looking at the statue and studying it a gentleman told me that there were accommodations made in the men’s locker room for him. One accomodation was a bench adjusted to a height that allowed him to sit and change his shoes.
That statue has a permanent home …now part of the Y and part of my regular environment. I think there is the possibility it will be decorated from time to time. He was wearing a Santa Hat in December. I am glad I know the story…it helps enjoyment of the statue. I noticed today it makes a great shadow on the wall. Yes Bill, exercising at the Y saves all of our lives.