It was one of my earliest fears. Proof that life might not go as smoothly as I hoped it would. I must have been about five or six because I recall that one of my friends from school was also in the group. It was an indoor pool located somewhere near Saint Joseph’s near Asylum Avenue before you get to downtown Hartford. It might have been the Hartford YMCA. Swimming lessons two or three days a week. I hated them. Half naked in a social situation and I wasn’t the most coordinated kid…and lots of shivering. I used to get nervous stomachaches before each lesson. But mom was very strong willed about this and I was going, like it or not. If there was an upside to any of this, my dad used to take me to a pool after work so I could practice and maybe show off a little. Let’s face it, he was paying.
Looking back now I am so glad I was forced to take swimming lessons and that my parents didn’t take “no” for an answer. I can’t imagine going through life not knowing how to swim. All of those good times at Cape Cod. All of those opportunities to ride in a boat and numerous attempts at waterskiing. Can’t forget those poolside chances for romance either. Like my dad I turned out to be a good swimmer. Not only do I love to swim now, but I live very close to an indoor pool. Several years ago I went through a stage where I was obsessed with swimming. I ended up being in the best physical shape of my life. Overcoming my fear, I gained confidence and I’m obviously a lot safer in and around water. All you really have to do is turn your head to the side and take a breath.
If you don’t know how to swim, try finding a Red Cross Learn To Swim program near you. It may be one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself or your kids.