An ice rink in Goshen—  could it be? Many longtime Goshen residents know that remains a question.

My Reporting for the Public Good class in 2022 covered the news of a possible ice rink and pavilion in Goshen, potentially at Goshen College. 

When my family ventured to Mishawaka or South Bend or Elkhart to ice skate this winter, I felt a pang of disappointment as I longed for a closer, more accessible rink.

A couple years older and wiser, I now know this ice rink question has been in the works for years—decades, in fact. While we can continue to have hope —it is not worth holding our breaths. In the meantime, we have a multitude of other indoor and outdoor recreational options here in Goshen.

We brainstormed what to cover as a reporting class this semester. We are charged with reporting on off-campus news of interest to the campus community. I looked around the class and saw student athletes and students active in intramurals and off-campus recreation. I also saw students who I know care about building in-person relationships and improving mental health.

Alum Emily Stutzman called our phones our “individual campfires” in her TEDxPortland talk last year. These campfires have become our “lovers,” but it’s a one-way relationship. She references Harvard professor Robert Putnam who studied the decline of civic engagement in the 1990s and named televisions as the “private campfire” then.

We are addicted to the glow of those devices, so much so that we apparently touch our phones over 2,600 times a day.  But, as we agreed as a class, we don’t even look at our phones when we’re throwing a disc or climbing or bowling.

Parting with our phones for a bit and changing out of our work or school clothes to get sweaty around others takes courage, but the rewards are great. Raquel Montanez-Gonzalez, assistant professor of biology from Puerto Rico, found volleyball as her way to socially plug in here in Northern Indiana. Gunnar Sadowey, brand new to Comm-Mar, jumped right into noonball–pick-up basketball here on campus.

I haven’t been quite so bold in recreation matters, preferring a quick jog on my basement treadmill these days, but I know that consistently meeting with others offers purpose and stability. I joined a book club soon after moving to Goshen in 2021, which offered an immediate group of women to connect and converse with. My husband joins a trivia team downtown most Tuesdays. 

This spring, my 9-year-old joined Girls on the Run, a national program, with a thriving chapter at the Goshen Boys and Girls Club. Going by “Empowered Ella”— she is learning about friendship, positive self-talk and, of course, some running. We will join her for a 5k in Elkhart in May, and I hope this is just the beginning of many 5ks for our family in this region. 

Limited by space and time, we didn’t cover the full range of options in the area. Here are just a few that we hope to write about in the future: ultimate frisbee; Zumba classes; the baseball league that plays across from The Chief; ax-throwing at Axes and Antics; and many more.

We hope that you learn about a new local leisure option from at least one of these articles. Our phones don’t make us less lonely, but getting out and moving our bodies with others does.