Yesterday I was reading about the misunderstanding that arose over a supposed $1000 dollar fine being imposed by the county for tossing a ball around or throwing a frisbee on the beach. This week the county was modifying some beach ordinances including the ball on the beach ban which has actually been on the books since the 80’s but never enforced. Well the press jumped all over the ban calling it antisocial, but guess what? They got it wrong. What a surprise. Instead of restricting the use of balls and frisbees on the beach the new ordinance actually makes it easier to do so. The original ordinance prohibited ball playing on the beach while the new ordinance actually allows more ball playing on the beach. “It never prohibited throwing a football or throwing a Frisbee.”
The new ordinance states that anyone can kick a ball or swat a tennis ball anywhere on the beach during the winter time. But the summer is a different matter. If the beach is crowded the lifeguards can stop ball or frisbee throwing and move play to designated areas away from the crowds. They can give a ticket to those who ignore them. But it’s not a $1000 fine, the reports were wrong about that too. The fine for first time offenders is $100. Leave to the press, always looking for an an angle even if it’s a wrong one.
I don’t see anything wrong with this ordinance. A lot of us as been on the receiving end of a wayward football or been run over or had sand kicked on us or our towels by those chasing the ball. If the beach is crowded there should be a ban for safety reasons. I’m good with that. It will help make our beach experience more enjoyable. Won’t do a damn thing about the large crowds but it will help.
Speaking of enjoyable experiences, many people believe that there is nothing more enjoyable than a day at the beach on a sunny afternoon, unless of course it’s spending a succession of days there. I’m not sure about that. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the beach as much as the next person, I just think there are other equally enjoyable ways to spend a sunny afternoon, like taking a nice leisurely stroll along the shores of Lake Nacimiento or cruising down the highway on my motorcycle destination unknown. On extremely hot days a visit to our local AMC is very enjoyable. I love going to the show, a good movie, is a nice break from reality.
I do enjoy the beach though, I love the sight and sound of the ocean, especially at night. I love walking through the sand on moonlit evenings, listening to the waves break on the shore. It’s incredible. But I definitely prefer the shores of Maui to our local beaches. Our beaches get much too crowded.
When I was a kid we used to go to the beach now and then usually with my dad’s side of the family. We’d always go to a place called Tin Can Beach near Huntington. I think it’s called Bolsa Chica today. We had a blast! One time when we were there my grandpa saved a girl from drowning. It was a late afternoon, the sky was beginning to darken when my grandpa went into the water. My cousins and I stood on the shore and watched him go. He went way out, we could barely see his head bobbing up and down in the water. A little while later we could see him struggling to come back in. When he finally got close to shore we could see that he was holding someone. It was a girl in her late teens, she had been drowning and my grandpa Leo rescued her!
Later that evening we had a big fire going and we were all sitting around it listening to grandpa’s story. He said he had been out there when all of a sudden he felt something grabbing at his legs. He was shocked and went under where he discovered it was a young woman who was grabbing at him, clawing at his legs, trying to save herself. He said he couldn’t understand where she had come from. One of my uncles speculated that she may have fallen off of a boat. It was weird, but then we were kids and probably didn’t get the whole story. Anyway, in spite of her struggles gramps somehow managed to get a hold of her and was able to bring her in. His legs and chest were covered with long scratches. He was a hero!
As a teen we used to go to beach in the summer whenever we could. The recreation center in Azusa where we hung out nearly every summer day, sponsored several beach trips to Corona Del Mar. I don’t think we ever missed one. The body surfing was great! Then when we were old enough to drive we began going more often. I remember my senior year spending every day of my spring break in Laguna. Each day my girlfriend and I along with my buddy Perry and his girlfriend would pack up my VW, leave from Azusa around 10 or so and make our way down old Hwy 39 to the beach. We could have taken surface street over to the 605 freeway and taken it south to the San Diego Freeway, but we preferred Hwy 39 instead. It took us all the way to Huntington Beach and from there we took the Coast Hwy to Laguna Beach.
I believe Laguna is where I learned to appreciate the natural beauty of the ocean and shoreline and the incredible beauty of the sunset. We would climb out on the rocks and sit there for hours with waves breaking around us, then watch the sun disappear beyond the western horizon. We experienced five incredible sunsets that week. It was an experience I will never forget. God, it was awesome!
Okay, so I guess I enjoy the beach more than I thought. I don’t care much for the salty sea, but I enjoy everything else about the seashore. Now if we could only do something about all the damn people! If not for them I’d probably spend a lot more time there. But that’s not about to change anytime soon, fact is it just keeps getting worse. Oh well, I suppose I could always move to Maui! Now wouldn’t that be special…