By Brandon HENSLEY
The waves flooded the entrance to the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center soon after 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, and there was almost no stopping them. Only one person on staff, Paul Galbo, was there at the front desk and badly needed help, which finally came in the form of his wife, Daniela Davies.
Together the two did their best and successfully managed to get in all of the eager swimmers and would-be movie watchers.
That’s right; these weren’t actual waves, but rather people who came out for the center’s Dive-In Movie Night, the last of three it has held this summer. On this night, the animated hit “Despicable Me” played on a large projector with speakers around the recreational pool.
What was despicable last weekend, though, was the heat, which makes for uncomfortable days but virtually guarantees the Aquatics Center will have a large crowd for movie nights.
“You can put your watch to it: If it’s hot, you’ll have swimmers,” said Davies, who is the therapeutic programs office manager.
She was in charge of the movie night, which included renting the necessary equipment and spreading the word about the event.
The movie started at 8:15 p.m. and Davies’ night was busy. She was constantly running back and forth from the office to the pool area talking with lifeguards and making sure people were hydrated.
“It’s stressful because I want to make sure everybody’s taken care of and that everybody’s having fun because if something happened it would be disastrous,” she said. “I don’t want any injuries, staff people being overworked, that kind of thing.”
Davies likes watching the movies, but she was glad to have already seen “Despicable Me”
“I like it when it’s a movie I’ve already seen so I can just concentrate on working,” she said.
Over 200 people – mostly children – were in the pool to watch the movie, although many more families pulled up chairs or sat in the stands around the pool to also watch. The center has been putting on movie nights every summer for the past four years, Davies said. One rule though is that none of the movies can be Disney.
“You can only show Disney on non-peak seasons, so during the summer you can’t show Disney because they want the sales to go through the theaters,” she said.
The Aquatics Center is non-profit, and holds several fundraising events a year – a food truck event will be held Sept. 30 for instance – and indeed, Davies said the center doesn’t break even when hosting Dive-In nights, but that’s OK with her.
“That’s our mission statement, to give back to the community and help the population young and small, so this is one of the things we do for our families.”
Food and drinks were sold, including super pretzels and Gatorade.
With the last days of summer vacation upon her two young children, Amanda Flavell brought her family to the center. They first came for the family swim at 6:30 p.m.
Flavell, who lives in Monrovia, said she heard about the Dive-In from an Internet meet-up group and thought it would be a good place to have her family beat the heat.
“It was just so hot today and we wanted to go swimming and we figured it would be a good idea to wrap everything up together,” she said.
When the movie started, the overhead lights went out and the ones inside the pool illuminated the water, eliciting collecting “oohs” and “aahs” from all of the kids; perhaps the last exciting moment before their end of summer.