Or maybe more like grade seven. There was something about swim practice yesterday that just made me feel like I was right back in early high school, or even middle school…
-There have been a series of muggings recently on the Upper East Side, right near where my mom lives and where we swim. Granted, this is cause for a heightened sense of awareness and caution. My Jewish mother, however, thinks it is cause for her to walk me to the pool (I go there between work and practice), make me leave all my things at her house so I am not carrying anything, stay up late just to make sure I get back ok, and ask her doorman to meet me at the pool and walk me back. Seriously!? Last time I checked, I was going on 25, not 5. And there are 40 other people swimming with me at the same time, all of whom I can walk with the half a block it takes me to get back to her building. Anyway, it was quite hilarious watching her ask the doorman to pick her grown daughter up.
-We did mostly drills at this practice to work on our stroke efficiency. Since we were only going one length of the pool, the coach had us swim two at a time, side-by-side, to reduce the waiting time between drills. After a few laps, this guy and I were going first, and another girl and guy were going second. The second pair, after their first lap (and every other, coincidentally), touched the wall at exactly the same time. Jokingly, I said, “Photo finish!” I then felt bad for making it seem competitive and back-peddled a bit saying, “Well, I mean, it isn’t a race.” This girl looks at me, right in the eyes, and with a totally serious look on her face, says, “It’s always a race.” WHAT!? This is practice! While everyone there must have some competitive tendencies, or they wouldn’t be training for a triathlon, there is a time and place to be collegial and have good sportsmanship, and a time and place to be competitive. How old are we? In seventh grade, apparently.
-The last reason the evening was reminiscent of ages yore is less specifically anecdotal and more just general observational. Maybe because many of us have not been in the pool and coached since high school, or maybe because, growing up, the pool is the home to marco polo, splashing contests, and general summer revelry, but there is something about it that makes everyone act quite goofy and young. There was lots of giggling, laughing, and, to the coach’s distress, talking while he was. Many of us, including myself, zoned out during his explanations and then did the drills wrong (I also think I was probably just being cocky and though I knew everything already). It certainly makes the evening more fun, but, I imagine, somewhat less productive.