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Tag Archives: swimming

Dreadful and Delightful

My Daughter's Class

See if you can spot Alyssa

And so it begins. Another Summer vacation filled with excitement and challenge. I know my kids want to spend the entire seventy days watching television and swimming. They’ll want to do it at home and at their friends’ homes . . . and back at our home with their friends. They will resist anything that smells of homework or, heaven forbid, learning.

My job is to stand in their way and keep them from having a good time. We can be sure that’s how they see it. I see it as a challenge to figure out creative ways to get them to think without it appearing as though that’s what I’m doing. I have some ideas. My education has been mostly unconventional and I am a life-long learner. Hopefully, I can instill in them some of the excitement I get out of the chase for knowledge.

I picked up my youngest from school today. I got there a little early so I could find a parking space and walk in to greet her. The kids were all assembled on the lawn outside their multi-purpose room, sitting fairly patiently with their classmates and their teachers. I had the opportunity to thank my daughter’s teacher for all she’s done this year and, let me tell you, she was challenged on our behalf. She earned whatever they pay her, which I’m pretty sure isn’t enough.

About three minutes before Noon, the Principal said a couple of words and put on the single version of James Brown singing “I feel good!”. When it was over she said a few more words. Then she did something I wish I had been prepared for, because I would have loved to share what would have been a powerful, exciting 15 seconds of video. She looked at her watch and started a countdown from 10 seconds. The kids got into it – big time – and the area was filled with the full-throated chanting of around 350 – 400 kids. When they reached zero they erupted into cheering.

I haven’t experienced a casual and cavalier Summer, where I really wasn’t required to do anything but have fun, for a long time; somewhere around 50 years. I don’t really remember the feeling any longer. However, for about 10 seconds today, while those kids were marking a big step in their lives, I think I was able to capture the sheer joy of it all. It was awesome!

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Swimming, Floating, and Flying

I came across an interesting post by Justine Musk the other day, courtesy of John Hagel, who I subscribe to on Facebook. In her piece, Justine talks about (among other other things) the “Tetris Effect” that describes the phenomenon whereby playing Tetris leaves people seeing residual moving pieces of the game after they’ve completed playing, usually during periods of rest or prior to falling asleep. I’ve played Tetris in the past and haven’t experienced this, but it did remind me of something I have experienced that I think is related.

Flying by Wire

To Float; Perchance to Dream

I was fortunate enough to have a swimming pool at home from the time I was 9 years old. We had just moved back to the San Fernando Valley, from West Los Angeles, after an ill-fated attempt by my father to work in a partnership with his brother. My parents purchased a new tract home on the border between North Hollywood and Sun Valley and they decided a pool was a good idea. This was Southern California, after all!

During the warm months of late spring and throughout the summer, I used to spend as much as eight hours in that pool. This was before the advent – to my knowledge – of sunscreen and is no doubt a direct contributor to my having a Melanoma surgically removed a couple of years ago. My parents use to call me a fish because of the inordinate amount of time I spent in the pool. Later on I swam competitively in High School, earning a school letter and several medal and trophies in free style and butterfly.

Many times, at night, I would have these vivid dreams that I could simply float and swim through the air, casually treading or stroking my way above the trees and houses in my neighborhood. These dreams were powerful and clear and I could feel the movement as I ascended and moved down the street. I remember well how I would have to keep treading if I wanted to hover over a neighbor’s house and how I could ease myself back down to the ground by merely slowing the speed with which I was treading. It was exhilarating.

Later on, when I was old enough to drive, I used to go surfing in the morning and return in the afternoon to go swimming in our pool. For a while, I could feel the waves in the pool, though they obviously weren’t really there. It was an interesting feeling that I remember quite fondly. I’m sure many others have experienced this “Tetris Effect” from things they’ve done in their lives. How about you?


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