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Friday, October 18, 2013

If You're Going to Pee in the Pool....Jump in First!

If You're Going to Pee in the Pool....Jump in First!

"Swimming Lessons!" my mother spurted, "Why when I was a kid your grandpa rowed me out into the middle of the lake and threw me in was how I learned to swim!"
"Mom, grandpa wasn't trying to teach you to swim."
Needless to say swimming lessons weren't on the table, or in the pool for me. Why I don't think lessons were even available when I was a kid. Swimming wasn't popular till the invention of the bikini. At least, that's when dad starting taking us to the beach. And I don't think teaching us to swim while at the beach was his main concern. You need flotation devices not binoculars dad!
I learned to swim on my own in the wading pool at local park (which is now the parking lot for people taking indoor swimming lessons). I would lay on my stomach and with my hands under me on the bottom of the pool and walk-float myself to deeper water. I know. I know. "That's not swimming Bob!" And that's exactly what Karen Mc Manus yelled at me, laughing so hard she nearly feel off her bike. She was the cute girl in grade six. But that compelled me to let go of the bottom of the pool and do this sort of dog-paddle kicky thing which freed me from this gravity laden earth we walk to the freedom we experience in the near weightlessness of the liquid life we were born into. I might of overstated that. It wasn't pretty. I was no David Hasselhoff. But what you could see of me through all the splashing and thrashing was my confidence building in the fine art of looking cool while swimming. I soon graduated to the big pool with the diving board. Fifteen cents gets you in to look at all the girls in bathing suits...I mean swim. Hey, I was a pasty white, freckled, red headed kid in the Beach Boy generation. This was as close as I was getting to a meaningful relationship.
But be it my drive as a pubescent boy, or the joy of cooling off in the community pool, I did master the art of swimming and diving.
Years pass and now I'm taking my granddaughter to swim lessons at the local pool, (I can't remember how my kids learned to swim.....Must of been the wife?....Oh right, I had the binoculars!). My daughter signs her up for classes and I drive her down there. Park on the very spot I learned to swim. This day was momentous! I tried to point this all out to my 3yr. granddaughter but it fell far short of anything but "Can we go to Mc Donald's after?"
I walk inside. Sign in. And then am instructed to just go through the men's change room to get to the pool. "Uh Uh I mean no, I'm with her!" I respond as I lift her little hand over her head. Too many questions grandpa doesn't want to answer from the most inquisitive kid I have ever known in my life. Every sentence from her starts with 'WHY?' If I take her through the door with the 'Mens Changing Room' sign on it.....well..there just isn't enough hours in one day to complete her inquisition on why did that man.........????well you know.
The understanding girl behind the desk offered use of the staff washroom to change in (I think she was dragged through it as a kid). And, that I could use the staff door to get into the pool area. "Great! Works for me!" I said.
Next week it was as easy as just catching the understanding girls eye (something in my youth I was never able to do at the pool) to enter the staff door into the pool area (we changed at home, I mean she. We didn't change at home. I mean I don't put on my speedo to go watch my grandchild at swim class. I do that for ballet class). Anyway......upon entering the staff entrance I get this whistle happy Bay Watch shut-in emptying his lungs into the aforementioned wind chime hung around his neck. He's pointing and yelling about ??? I can't hear him. Whatever it is it's not about me...I'm not running. But surprise surprise, it was me in his sights. "Staff Entrance! Only Staff!" he starts out. I lift Charlottes arm over her head (we're attached at the hands) and mention I'm not taking her through the men's change room. And on and on I go and he shuts down pretty quick. I think he was in there as a small child too.
Weeks go by and we repeat this performance at least one more time with a whistle blowing door monitor. Charlotte changes after swim lessons in a corner of the parents viewing area. All in all, I don't think we'll be back for any more lessons at the local pool. I think I'll get Karen McManus to tease her in a wading pool. Hey, worked for me!
So in conclusion (thank the Good Lord for that) what happened to all the wading pools in Town? Gone are our public watery washrooms with which to swim and relieve ourselves in. All the splashing and dunking, play fighting with your friends thinking to yourself if he only knew what's in the water, and he's thinking the same. Kids in third world countries still play in them, only they're called open sewers. But kids are kids. It was a water source to get comfortable in. With swim lessons it took seven one hour sessions for Charlotte to stick her head under water and blow bubbles...but with confidence they'd retort.
Bring back our local kiddie pools I say. Parents watch your kids. Drain them at night. Kids learn much quicker goofing around as kids. But watch them. All we have now are mean water parks that bully our kids. They spray freezing water all over them as they run to try and avoid it. Squirt them without warning! Shoot them anywhere....I get it. They're training them for high school. Sad isn't it.

Bob Niles



bobby did this

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