I spent part of tonight watching some Olympic diving. I love the diving but I seriously have to wonder who comes up with this stuff. Did someone just say one day, “why don’t we put a platform 10 meters above the pool, tell some unknowing fool to do a handstand, then push himself out, twist around a couple times and land in the water with perfect form?” I can tell you what would happen if I tried to do a handstand on a platform 10 meters above the water (or anywhere really). I’d either fall off, hit my head and land comatose in the water, OR I’d land flat on my back on the platform and would be forced to lay there, cameras focused on my contorted face, as I waited for the paramedics to arrive.
When I was in high school I was on the swim team – junior varsity. In other words, I wasn’t a star swimmer, but they let me try. I must admit my favorite part of being on swim team was getting to have a chunk of a giant Hershey bar before the meets. Apparently, the sugar in the bar was to give us extra energy. Whatever - just pass the chocolate!
At one point, I decided that the divers were super cool and looked so graceful going into the water. I should be a diver. I talked to our swim coach and she agreed to let me try it out. It looked so easy. Of course, I would start on the low board. I’m not sure how many dives I actually did, but I clearly remember when Mrs. Warren, my coach, told me to go on the board, turn around, jump backwards, then dive forward into the pool. I got on the board, turned around to face backwards, and considered the idea of jumping backwards and then heading back TOWARDS the board. After several moments of standing there doing nothing, I looked at Mrs. Warren and said, “You know, I don’t think I really want to be a diver after all.” I think she was relieved.
Sure, I may have given up being super cool, or winning an Olympic Gold, but at least I don’t have a huge scar across my forehead. Besides, if I ever won a gold medal, I’d be the one standing on the podium bawling. My face would be red and scrunched up, snot would be running out my nose, and any semblance of super coolness that I might have acquired through the years would be totally lost. I think I made the right decision.