After school, other kids could sit on the couch and eat Hostess Cupcakes before dinner but that’s not how it worked at our house. My mom made us join the swim team and every day we were in a pool from 5:00-7:00 pm. That gave us fewer than two hours to grab a light snack, do a little homework and walk to practice. It was a tight schedule for a kid and unless we were critically injured or bleeding, there was no getting out of it.
I still remember my first day of swim practice. I was seven and thinking I’d impress the other girls with my keen sense of style, I wore my best bikini. All the other girls wore sleek, one-piece Speedos which of course, made me feel pretty awkward and on top of it, I had no idea how to swim. Seeing that was kind of important, the coaches threw me in “The Garbage Lane” where we learned by doing and most of the kids were six and under. I was the biggest one in the group, and the worst swimmer too. Five-year olds sailed past me, swimming butterfly and breaststroke while I struggled to keep my suit on and just make it to the wall.
It was exhausting and humiliating but eventually I got better. My sister closest to me in age was in the Blue Group… two levels ahead of me. She had a natural affinity with water and no problem swimming fast. Walking home after practice she gave me advice on how to improve. “Keep your butt up when you’re swimming backstroke and instead of lifting your whole head out of the water to breathe, just turn it slightly to the side when you’re swimming freestyle.” I’m not sure I would have survived workouts without her.
Actually, I’m not sure I would have survived without the entire team. Practices would have been even more brutal without that camaraderie.
The swimming community is a tight one and through the years, I have made some of my best friends. I even met my husband swimming, but I only started liking the actual workouts years after I stopped competing in it. Today, it is one of my favorite ways to exercise.
As a kid, I never looked forward to hard practices and I would have done anything to get out of them. Decades later, I’m wondering if all that wishing has finally materialized.
Of all the sports most impacted by Covid-19, swimming has been one of the hardest hit. For months, pools everywhere have been closed to protect swimmers. I would have died years ago if chlorine didn’t kill everything, and I think most health experts and scientists agree it kills Covid-19 too. Where there seems to be an issue is how to deal with the locker rooms, the closeness of swimmers in their lanes and the mere fact that we can’t wear masks to protect each other in the water.
After five months of no swimming, some pool managers have figured it out. By restricting the number of swimmers to a lane and keeping them out of the locker rooms, it seems there is a way to protect us from spreading the virus. Still, out of extreme caution the outdoor pool in my neighborhood is not open this year and that’s left an unimaginable void for those of us who love to swim early on a summer morning as the sun slowly rises.
You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. No swimming has been a huge loss in my life and even harder on my husband who without it, is like a fish out of water. Honestly, the poor guy is miserable when he can’t swim 4,000 meters in the morning.
No lap swim is just one of many things in this… don’t say it, don’t say it, “new normal”.
This virus has put so much into perspective because everything has been impacted by it. There is not one activity, hobby or business that’s remained unscathed and as cases rise, our old way of life becomes more and more unattainable.
What makes this worse is Science warned us this would happen, but sheer arrogance and ignorance has brought us to our knees. The longer we ignore it, the longer we will suffer. Science has proved we can stop the spread of COVID-19 just by wearing a face mask, washing our hands and staying 6 feet apart. Three simple solutions to protect each other from a complex virus that is outsmarting and sometimes killing us.
Listen, not taking extra precautions to keep each other safe is like taking a gun into a room full of people and shooting it. Even if we aim it toward the ceiling, there’s no telling where a bullet could land, who will live or who will die.
A doctor friend told me of her experiences with the virus. She said, “Some people come into our clinic for a simple checkup, no complaints and when we test them for COVID, they come up positive. While others, with sore throats and raspy coughs, fearing they’re infected have no COVID in them. Then there are those who have always been healthy and strong that are coming in testing positive and sadly, there’s nothing we can do to save them. They die and we just can’t understand why or how it happens.”
I did not see this doctor in her clinic but out on the lakefront last weekend. We were a good ten feet apart and we’d just gotten out of the water after a long, glorious swim. It was the first time I’d been in the lake all summer and the first time I was able to swim in over four months. Nothing like a pandemic to make us more grateful but that got me thinking about my childhood, and all the times I’d wished practice had been cancelled. Careful what you wish for…
Like everyone else, I want my family to be safe, kids back in school and the economy up and running, but the only way these things can happen is if we all start acting like a team and looking out for each other.
After my mother realized I was mortified wearing a bikini to practice, she picked me up a Speedo. Who knew a simple bathing suit would make such a massive difference? Just putting it on helped me transform from that awkward little girl into a confident swimmer and a member of a team.
Like me years ago showing up to practice in a bikini, anyone seen without a mask on today looks like an amateur. Take it from ME, it just isn’t cool, you are impressing no one and you look like a dork. By wearing a mask, you look informed and you will help beat this virus so we can all get back to school and work.
Wearing a mask shows you care about others. It shows unity, teamwork and a determination to stop cases from surging. Think of it this way, those of us wearing a mask are protecting you. The least you could do is return the favor.
We must ignore the politics and politicians and listen to Science. Just as that sleek, one piece suit worked to help me swim better, face masks work to stop the virus from spreading! So, let’s wear them, wash our hands and stay 6 feet apart whenever possible.
P.S… I know I swore I wasn’t going to produce traditional masks but now that we know wearing them can stop the spread of the virus, MAJAMAS EARTH is introducing new 100% Organic Cotton, fully lined face masks soon.
Stay posted and in the meantime, pick up one of our versatile Reclaimed Headbands that double duty as a mask too.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
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Are you having a hard time with others not wearing masks?
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