Anyone who knows me (and not even very well) knows that I am an INDOOR girl..heat, the great outdoors, sports are all very unnecessary if you ask me. So when I came home one day and asked my daddy if I could go to Grenada Lake and ride in a boat with a friend, he looked at me like I had abandoned all reason. "I would promise to wear one of those horrible huge orange life jackets. I wouldn't put my hand out of the boat into the water." I just wanted to be like everybody else and go to the lake and ride in the boat while my friend skiied. "Absolutely not," was the answer, "UNLESS you learn to swim." Here we go again. The mandate. Learn how to swim...why? If anything happened I had the large life jacket. It would hold me up until help arrived. "No."
So my friend, Martha Ray (who also wanted to go in the boat), and I got signed up for swimming lessons at the Grenada City Pool. That's how it all started. A simple request. Five days of Red Cross lessons with a "graduation" on Friday. The first day started well. We sat on the edge of the pool with our legs dangling in the water. Then things got dangerous. We had to get into the shallow end. Everyone else jumped in, but MR and I went cautiously down the steps. I've never seen so many children. How could they keep up with all of us? Would they know that #455 didn't come up when she went under?
For at least 20 minutes we practiced letting our faces touch the water..."No!" the lifeguard shouted at me, "not the side of your face, the front!" What?! That means my nose has to be under the water..this will never do. But after some coaxing, MR and I did it! Not once, but several times. I was trying to figure out how to do all this without getting my hair wet..another story for another time. Then we learned to hold on to the side and kick our feet. That was pretty fun...really rather lame...what's so hard about swimming? After our first lesson we excitedly flipflopped our way to the car. We had a great time! Why by tomorrow we'd be swimming all over the place!
Day two was more difficult. We did the jellyroll by grabbing our ankles and putting our faces in the water and "floating". I really can't explain how we made it through that, but we seemed to do pretty well. It all seems like a dream now. Then we learned to do the Australian Crawl...except we were supposed to be kicking our feet and crawling with our arms at the same time. Ha! Are they serious? MR and I tiptoed on the very tips of our toes and just did the arm motions. Why we looked like swans. We were flawless!
Day three passed. Still tiptoeing and crawling. Day four was our Waterloo. We arrived, removed our sunglasses, flipflops, folded our towels..anything to put off what was coming next. We were "whistled" to the middle of the pool on the concrete edge. Now I'm no mathematician but I know a 6 when I see it and it plainly said 6 FEET. I quickly calculated that I was about 4 feet tall. This meant No tiptoes today. The lifeguard (who was very cute, I must add) whistled for all 500 of us to jump in. Huge splash. Only two were left standing on the side...MR and me. We preferred the ladder, if that was ok. (We were pretty high maintenance even at age 10. ) We both hung on to the side of the pool for dear life...literally. When everyone else pushed off and began dog paddling, we both promptly sank to the bottom and had to be pulled out.
The two of us got some one on one time with an instructor and by graduation time (Friday) we did reasonably well...well enough to get our Beginner's card. But still not good enough to go boating!! I think my daddy and MR's daddy ganged up on us there.
1. When there is a choice between life and death, you better not tiptoe around.
2. If you are going to swim, you eventually HAVE to get your hair wet...it's ok, it dries.
3. You can fool some of the lifeguards some of the time, but not all the lifeguards all of the time!