I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait for summer. The irresistible heat, the sunlit days, the luscious green grasses and trees, and the cooling waters of a swimming pool (or beach, if you’re fancy). I can’t help but think that I’m a fish out of water. I could spend hours upon hours, days upon days, swimming in a pool. The weightless feeling of floating at the top of the waterline is quite a euphoric feeling for me. I learned to swim at a young age, the very old-school way. By “old-school” I mean I was thrown into the deep end a pool and told don’t drown. After learning the basics of staying afloat, my father would take me to the YMCA on toonie Tuesday’s ($2 for 2 hours of swimming) where I would learn to dive, hold my breath from minutes, and swim from one end of the pool to another without a gasp for air. No wonder I love the water. I don’t think I’ll ever be afraid of it.
There are stories out there of people who experience a traumatic event when engaged in an activity they like and they become fearful. People who love to drive get into a car accident and never drive again. I have even experienced this myself. I used to love snowboarding. I started at a young age and shredded the sky hill every time. However, one bad wipe-out and I never boarded again. Every since then I’ve become over critical. If my foot makes one wrong dip, I could fall and break my spine (over dramatic? Tell me about it). I had an experience similar to that when I was invited to a water park many years ago. Nevertheless, I still love swimming very much,
I was in elementary school, no older than twelve years old. My friend of the time decided to have a birthday party at Wild Water Works. We went on all the slides, the rides, we went to the miniature parks, the pools, we did it all. To end the day, we visited the very famous wave pool. for those who don’t know, a wave pool is like any other pool only it has jets at the deepest end of the pool. These jets are so powerful, they create very large waves that make their way from one end of the pool to the other. Me being the very aquaerobic person that I am, decided to venture off into the very crowded wave pool. My friends had the smart idea of bringing a noodle to aid them in keeping them afloat. As we made our way to the deepest end of the wave pool, I become very claustrophobic and found safety in the depths of the water. As I swam downwards to the bottom of the pool, I laid there for a few seconds admiring the people above me. Eventually, my body ran out of oxygen and I rose up to the surface of the water. Right before I broke the surface, a very muscular man jumped over top of me, denying me access to the air above. I slowly sank back to the bottom of the wave pool, vision darkening, body weakening.
I felt weightless.
With a sudden jerk, I felt my body being lifted up against the current of the water and the very muscular man that had previously jumper over top of me, was now holding me above his head. He carried me out of the wave pool and laid me down on the ground. He screamed ARE YOU ALRIGHT? CAN YOU HEAR ME?. To which I so gracefully responded what are you yelling for? I looked around to see that my friends were surrounding me, admiring my rescuer. With a quick nod of approval, my rescuer ran back into the wave pool and disappeared behind the swarm of swimmers.
Despite having almost drowned at my friends birthday party, at the hands of the very activity I have learned to conquer, I could not stay afraid. Swimming was such a part of my childhood that this was just one obstacle that needed to be overcome, and I did.
Two times in my life have I had a near death experience and I have only one thing to say: Death, you’re going to have to try harder than that.