There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to make the decision. Sink or swim.
I’m not talking about the struggles of life, I’m talking about the day when you get thrown in a swimming pool and splash about and hope you stay on the surface.
I’m not sure if it still happens in England but when I was in primary school the weekly school swimming lessons would begin. Or in my case the weakly swimming lessons.
Our lessons took place at Bury St. Edmunds Leisure Centre. A great place for sports that has only burned down twice. You can go there and do Karate, play basketball, football, badminton, do zumba (whatever the hell that is) and of course swimming. When I was a youngster there were two pools, the big scary one that was cold, and the small one where the little kids swam which was warmed by the urine of small babies so the legend went. And while I remember the little pool I would just like to say to the group of girls who were in there and 1976 and tried to pull my swim shorts off, I still remember and one day I will have my revenge!
The day came when I had to stop splashing and start swimming. No more arm bands for me. No more warm water. Those from my school will remember our mode of transport to the pool. The school bus was nothing special. What looked like an ex-armed forces troop transporter was grey and bland and had an over friendly bus driver who looked like Les from Men Behaving Badly. He was very proud of his school bus and decorated it with Panini football stickers. As I was a kid I thought it was cool as I collected those stickers and was always looking to see what new ones were stuck to his bus. Nowadays I think people would be calling to get a background check!
Now two things happened when I went to the swimming pool. 1) I swam about in the shallow end freezing my butt off and 2) I came home minus one sock.
Each week I would lose a sock. I have a theory that the lockers at the sports centre would eat stray socks. Well my socks anyway. That would mean spending the rest of the day at school with one foot feeling awkward. The local sock merchants must have loved me, well my Mothers money anyway. I’m sure that when the sport centre burned down it was because of my smouldering sock somewhere.
Now here comes the truth, I am not a good swimmer. I never have been. And swimming lessons really proved the point to me that I was meant to be a land creature. Fortunately Michigan is above sea level by about 900 feet on average so that helps. I’m quite happy to stay in shallow water. In fact if I can touch the bottom then I’m really happy (and no sniggering at the double entendre)
When you learn to swim at a young age you get certificates. My swimming certificate (I only ever got the one) was my proudest sporting achievement until 1995. Nearly twenty years of being in the sporting wilderness. Being the kid who got picked last! So to end let me show you one of my sporting treasures. This comes right from the Gaylord Focker wall of fame. Have a great day and Learn to swim!