Growing up, I never had to worry about beating the heat. Oh, it was hot. And humid. I suffered through thirty miserable summers in St. Louis. But I spent my days in a pool as a child. And I rarely ever noticed the heat.
I started swimming "competitively" when I was four years old. I remember my first meet vividly. I climbed up on the starting block and looked over at my competition. I was nervous. Then there was this loud sound. I watched as the others swimmers dove into the water. And I froze.
No one had told me about the starting gun. The coach, a jolly man named Wilson, had to come over and push me off the block to get me going. I had a lot of catching up to do, and I swam like mad. All I got from that race was a consolation ribbon. (I think they gave everyone in that age group a ribbon.) But it meant the world to me.
Despite my rocky start, I continued to swim on a team all through high school. Summer and winter. But summer was best. Man, those were the days. Mom would drop me off for morning practice every week day. Wilson would put us through our paces. He made us work. Hard. But then it was time for play.
My friends from the team and I basically goofed around at the pool all day long. The kind of carefree childhood days I fear my daughter may never know. It seems kids don't get to just be kids much anymore. But we did. We played Marco Polo. Tried to perfect our backflips. Got in to heated debates about who was cuter, Han Solo or Luke Skywalker. (For the record, I was a Luke girl.) Worked on our tans. We had no worries.
We stayed at the pool until afternoon practice, which was even more grueling than the morning one. It makes perfect sense that I used to be able to consume an entire pizza myself without gaining a pound. I swam a couple of miles a day in that pool. Of course, that was before puberty.
Our moms picked us up after the second practice. It was a great deal for them. They enjoyed child free days without having to find a good babysitter. Or camp. It even meant they got to party. Once a week, we had a swim meet against another club. After which there would be a big shindig. Our parents would sip cocktails while we ran around getting our dress up clothes dirty and doing things we knew we shouldn't.
We all came from different places. Went to different schools. Come fall, most of us would no longer see each other. We were summer friends only. But we made the most of it. Thanks to the wonders of social media, I am now back in touch with all the old pool gang. And we reminisce often about those wonderful summer days.
While other kids went to camp, summer school or even had jobs, I beat the heat at the pool. Those were good times...
Special note: I am going to be the Saturday Spotlight on Just Another Mom of 2 tomorrow. Please stop by and visit, and show my lovely hostess some blog love!