Swim MeetsDAY OF ACHING EARS!
I was looking at an old camp picture on the office porch; it showed some of the saddest faces I have ever seen. I was in there somewhere and we were all waiting for our name to be called to line up and be counted as we filed across the dam for the three swimming meet events. Of course, not everyone was sad; Mart Kilpatrick, Walt Harris, Greg Bagwellâ€¦ guys like that who always won. I considered it a good meet when I managed to get across without getting pulled under and choked more than one or two times.
I entitled this the day of aching ears; if you had not known it was Saturday morning by a calendar you could have told by the Infirmary line which stretched from the door halfway to the bell. â€˜Discretion is the better part of valorâ€¦â€™ I suppose, but I was to afraid of Coach Mike to fake the â€˜golden injuryâ€™. There they sat the pariahs; we didnâ€™t like them, but we secretly admired them as we lined up to be counted.
As an LIT I managed to win a few events, usually breast stroke and back stroke, because by then I had learned a trick. There would be fifty of us piled on a twenty five man dock. If you could fudge and get out a bit ahead (without being called for false start, tricky business); you could catch the tsunami that all those bodies made when they flailed into the water. Then if someone didnâ€™t grab your swim trunks and pull you back, you could ride that crest halfway across the lakeâ€¦ the start was the key.
I learned to swim at AYC, but it was the Louis Pintchuck method. He took me out in a flat bottomed boat (I was four at the time) and just threw me in. It was right then I understood the meaning of the expression, â€˜sink or swimâ€™; for me it was reality. After that I was never a great swimmer, but Coach Mike decided that I would take swimming for eight weeks as a pioneer (nine years old); that was before Coach Possâ€™s mandatory swimming classes. I learned all the strokes and got pretty good at them, I think I learned nine! So we were pretty sure I was going to really show out at that last swimming meet. I came in the middle as usual. Since it was all about speed and not style points, no candy bars for me. At Y Camp we didnâ€™t have too many swimmers, real ones. Most of us just managed to stay afloat as we struggled across that lake. And we all vowed that next time weâ€™d get in that Infirmary line, but we never did.
SAVE A LITTLE BIT FOR THE END (TRACK MEETS)