Yes dad, I want to swim
My dad was a teacher for many years. During the Summer, he would manage the local club swimming pool, which inevitably sponsored a club swimming team.
I was 8 years old and the oldest of four girls, all born within a 4 and 1/2 years Being the oldest, I was also the first to experience many opportunities.
This particular opportunity had me trembling with perpetual fear. The swim meet was about to begin and I absolutely dreaded the thought of standing on a metal starting block and diving headfirst into that chilly pool. To think that others would be watching me drown, no thanks!
Think fast Heather, I tell myself, and where might be a good place to hide? Without arriving at an answer, I begin walking briskly (no running allowed at the swim club and plus, I would be bringing attention to myself) to the ladies restroom and hide in the stall at the furthest end. Nobody could possibly find myself here.
Time passed quite slowly and then out of the blue, the speaker called my name, “Telephone call for Heather Lynn, telephone call”.
Who could be calling me? How exciting this was! Out of the bathroom I run and before I knew it, my coach grabbed me and threw me over his shoulders, heading directly for the pool.
I don’t think I even had a moment to understand what just happened. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I was standing on the cold metal starting block peering into the deep, blue, chilly water.
I will never forget the next moments. The starting gun went off and my coach gently pushed me forward as I plunged quite uncoordinated and awkwardly into those cold waters.
As I grappled for an explanation as to what just occurred, I realized I needed to surface and had but a few choices I could make. The choice I made was to swim (unsure if you could quite call it that as of yet) as fast as I could to the other side without drowning myself along the way.
For some mysterious reason, this led me toward many years of competitive swimming, up and through my freshman year of college.
I often reflect on this story and every single time, my eyes well up with tears and the wild realization of how critical this moment actually was in my life.
I learned so much that day about facing my fears. When we tell ourselves stories and forecast the ending, without giving the story a chance to play out – we miss out on the possibilities.
Yes, the water was cold but I finished the lap! Do you know how proud of myself I was? This shaped my future and my desire to “dive in” in so many ways.
If we don’t give it a go, we never know if we would sink, drown or make it to the other side. To this day, I still take those bold chances and life continually surprises me.