Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

I Found the Diving Board of Youth ; It Had Been Years since the Last Time. It Was Time to Try It Again

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

I Found the Diving Board of Youth ; It Had Been Years since the Last Time. It Was Time to Try It Again

Article excerpt

I swim regularly at the local pool. It has a springboard that usually is kept busy by kids jumping off, doing cannonballs, or just running and flailing their legs as they fall into the water.

One day I decided to go off the diving board after my swim. My previous diving experience consisted of many summer days spent with other kids at the community pool. I would run and jump from the diving board, over and over for hours until we were chlorine- soaked, shriveled prunes. We jumped backward and forward; we dived awkwardly and performed the never-fail butt-bump and fall. I probably hadn't been off a diving board since I was 16. Nearly 25 years later I decided it was time to try it again.

An elderly Asian lady stood at the edge of the board looking down at the water. Short and stout, she wore a modest black bathing suit and a white swim cap with rubber-flower flourishes and chin strap. She stared at the water for a while. Then she lifted her arms over her head into a diving position, bent over into a sort of arc and fell into the water. I worried that she had hurt herself, she made such a splash, but she bobbed up and slowly swam to the ladder. I waited for her to clear the pool, and then it was my turn.

I stood on the board, staring at the water, trying to remember what it took to dive into the water without looking like a complete fool. I couldn't quite remember, since I was one of those kids who had done cannonballs and flailed into the water.

I put my hands over my head and sprang tentatively off the board. My legs were bent as I entered the water and I landed with a huge splash. I felt the intense rush and momentary sense of wonder at being so deep underwater. I had forgotten the quiet and the way the water blurs one's vision so that colors and shapes melt together into a Monet-like view. I pushed to the surface. Smiling and exhilarated, I swam to the ladder.

The Asian woman was sitting on a chair trying to catch her breath. …

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