Saturday, April 23, 2011

Swimming Lessons

When I was about four, my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons at Sholem Pool, one of the local park district's swimming holes. I liked learning how to hold my face underwater and blow bubbles (talking to the fish), then turn my face sideways to breathe (listening to the fish). I enjoyed paddling out and back on the foam boards. I watched with longing as the more experienced kids on the other end of the pool dove off the high board.

Finally we got to swim in the deep end. And you could jump off the diving board if you wanted to. I watched classmates go off the low board. They didn't even spring off, they just stepped out and into the water a few feet below. That didn't look fun at all. 

When it was my turn I asked if I could go off the high board. With two instructors waiting in the water below and one accompanying me up the ladder, I felt more than ready. When I got to the edge of the platform and looked down, though, something in me said, "Maybe the low board isn't such a bad idea." 

I wish I could remember what I said to the instructor and what he told me, but my parents still have a picture of little four-year-old me being dangled over the edge of the high diving platform by the armpits, ready to fall for what felt like minutes before I hit the water. 

It was totally worth it.

I have always watched someone do something daring and thought "I want to try!" Then when I get the chance and I see what they saw, I want to back out. But if a tender coach walks me through the first part, I lose my fear and take off on my own. "What was I so afraid of?"

I should remember that more often, when given the chance to take risks, to live a little more life, to dance in front of strangers: "Later I will ask myself, 'what was I so afraid of?' so just do it, Sarah."

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, how I remember that day. I could not believe my eyes when I saw you climbing the ladder to the high board. I also remember the feeling I had which came back full blown as I read your story recalling that day. I also remember when you swam underwater clear across the pool at a resort. I don't know how you could hold your breathe that long.