Thursday, June 2, 2011

Well hell, that's all I needed.

Master J just wrapped up today with the first two weeks of summer swimming. I enrolled him in the appropriate swimming level for one class and then added in a beginning dive class. He was pretty excited about the diving class. He wanted to do it two years ago but we could never seem to get him signed up on time and the classes filled up quickly. Last year I was a bad parent and didn't sign him up for anything fun at all. But this year, he got into two classes so I think I redeemed myself.

Master J did pretty good in the swimming class, he enjoyed being in the water the whole time and he stayed mostly on task. I only had to get after him once to remind him to stay focused.

The diving class was a bit more chaotic only because there's more down time. You dive, you swim to the side to get out, you walk (not run!) to the boards. And then you wait your turn. When there are ten kids, two diving boards and one instructor, there's always a short wait after every dive. He mostly handled it well, but he did tend to get a little loud most days. His instructor was awesome with the kids though. He was very level and low key, never overly excited like the swim coaches tend to be. He always had their attention and if he gave them a direction they pretty much stopped whatever they were doing and followed his direction. This doesn't mean they managed to execute perfect dives but they at least tried to do what he asked. For instance this is Master J doing a modified version of a pike. He's the storky looking one on the far board.

Did you notice how he flew through the air with practically no grace whatsoever? Awesome. I'm so proud.

Anyway, after signing Master J up for the dive class but before the class actually started, I let Mister C know what I had signed him up for. Mister C swam competitively all the way through high school so I figured he'd be on board. Apparently not.

Mister C was somewhat horrified at the thought of his child diving. Not so much the diving itself part exactly, mostly the whacking of heads. The whacking of heads that he insisted happened on a regular basis. From the sounds of things, Mister C was under the impression that head whacking is part of the program over in dive. A prerequisite to advancing so to speak. He was taken aback when I pointed out that lots of people dive without killing themselves saying that everyone he knew that was seriously into diving hit the board at some point. He didn't want to see his son paralyzed or killed. He also mentioned that most of the divers he knew were "psychos" and that they needed a personality like that to want to dive competitively. Huh. Well shoot, and here all I wanted was to let the kid learn to do something other than a cannonball. I didn't realize I was signing him up for death diving 101. Who knew?

But I went ahead and left him in the class because I think someone (no names shall be mentioned but it isn't me) might possibly be somewhat over protective and neurotic when it comes to their child. As a side note I might add that the parent who is worried about diving boards is also the very same parent who took their child on what they insisted was a short hike that actually turned out to be twelve miles long. When their child was eight years old. Ahem.

But I thought I would make sure Master J understood that diving could be dangerous and he could get badly hurt if he fooled around just in case. So, like a good parent, I went in search of video footage of dives gone wrong. Do you know that there are a ton of those out there? I decided not to go scrounging through all of the tons of amateur videos of idiot male teenagers busting their heads open. I decided to find the one video that would make the point, Greg Louganis at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. I figured that if I could show him that even one of the best (if not arguably The Best) divers in the world could screw up and get hurt, then he (Master J) should certainly take things seriously. And I would say it worked. Master J did get loud in class, but he did not fool around on the board. He did not try to do any fancy maneuvers or dramatics. He mostly did his dives. And he didn't get hurt.

Today was the last day of dive class for this session. The kids worked on everything they'd learned in the last two weeks. Their instructor had them do their pencil dives, head first dives, tucks, pikes and back dives off the board. It went flawlessly. At the very end of class, he allowed each of them to do one dive of their choosing. Most of the boys did cannonballs, as expected. Most of the girls did a head first dive, trying to make it look good. But one little girl decided to do a fancy inward dive. And whacked her face.

Now before you panic, she's fine. She had a fat lip and a cut on her chin and she may or may not have lost a tooth. She's not paralyzed, she doesn't have a traumatic brain injury and she was walking around after being checked out by the paramedics. But she whacked her damn head, just like Mister C predicted. And now he has "proof" to back his theory. Damn it.


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