LGN 129: Swimming For

I’m back, bishes.

Bish

noun

  1. Scientific appellation for a female dogfish shark.
  2. Portmanteau of the words fish and bitch.

One of those is true.

Ladies and gentlemen. Bishes of all ages. You know and I know that I don’t need anymore expensive hobbies.

A few months ago someone asked if I was interested in scuba diving. I was like, “Bish, you crazy. I ain’t gettin’ in no deep azz water.”

Obviously, that was before my ascension to King of Swimming*. I haven’t been in a pool since the swimming III class ended. Still on the wait list for one, I think. There’s nothing stopping me from driving or even walking across the street, practically, and getting in the pool. Self-motivation isn’t my forte, particularly when I’m operating solo, which is the norm.

The water is on my mind a lot, though. No joke — I have woken from a night’s sleep frog or side kicking more than once.

I’m not saying that I planned things out this way. I signed up on a whim a few weeks ago. Because it was there. A gentle intro to scuba diving? They do that? I’m in, if not a little anxious. But the PADI Scuba Discovery Class by Blue Planet Scuba gets me closer to my goal of swimming in the Caribbean and closer to swimming with, like, seals or dolphins or sea turtles or those cute beach pigs or brain eating amoeba or krakens.

LGN 128: Swimming 3.9 The Deep End

The deep end. We treaded water in the deep end, jumped into the deep end, floated on our backs in the deep end, and we swam in the deep end. Fourteen feet. What?? What?!?!?! That’s what I’ve been waiting for.

Jelly Belly 3
Too deep. Little help?
I like my pools like I like my women.

LGN 127: Swimming 3.5

Well, folks. I think I’ve done it. I beat swimming.

It’s pretty much a wrap so everyone else might as well stop. Swimming is over. That includes you, water-based fauna. You might as well evolve, grow legs and come up here on land. Or go into space where, let’s be honest, half of you cluckers look like you came from somewhere out there, anyway. There’s really no point anymore after the perfection I achieved tonight. As far as  you hu-mans go, you might as well retire your little Olympics competitions and your freediving and your water births and your amniotic fluds and your —

Swimming is over
Game over. Get out. This is my domain, now. You in my house.

Okay. I may be exaggerating a little bit.

LGN 126: Swimming 3

I just finished Swimming II tonight.

I may be a grown ass man but I’m still disappointed that there wasn’t a certificate. With the little cartoon fish on it. Also, the MyZone MZ-3 doesn’t work in the water, which is a bummer because I got worked tonight.

On to swimming III. Narrowly. 

Prerequisite: Swimming II or skill proficiency to swim unassisted on front and back at least three body lengths using arms and legs, and to submerge face in water for at least three seconds. Class emphasizes increasing endurance and independent swimming skills. Skills include rotary breathing, entering deep water safely, treading water 15 seconds; and swimming front crawl and elementary backstroke 15 yds., and back crawl five yds. without assistance or support.

That doesn’t sound too bad.

LGN 125: Swimming 2

Inside: Level up; Waterproof-ish; Water-shy

Remember in my last post about swimming I was saying how if it wasn’t challenging enough I’d try to find a way to make it more challenging. Like maybe I could try to tread water the whole time? Well, that was a ridiculous thing to say.

Swimming is exhausting. For a beginner, anyway. If you can’t breathe naturally and if your movement is inefficient you just tire yourself out the whole time.

Where Swimming I was about the basics of being in the water, floating, basic kicking, basic arm movement, rotating in the water, and the basics of breathing, Swimming II is more about building up the movements. Trying to get them drilled into our muscle memory. Hm. I didn’t practice at all this week. Lame.

Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to hop into the deep end this week.

At the beginning of the first class, the instructor had us do a few things to see where we were. Freestyle and then backstroke or the back crawl(?). I’ve never attempted proper backstroke before so that was interesting. I was pretty much underwater by the time I reached the instructor.

To my credit, I’m getting pretty good at getting water up my nose. Where’s my certificate for that?

LGN 124: Swimming

2017-2018 goal: I want to swim in the Caribbean Sea.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Doing anything outside of your comfort zone is a matter of trust. That’s what I’m learning. Swimming is pure, in a way, because it’s not about gear or equipment. The only thing you have to put your trust in is physics — hydrodynamics. Literally all you have is your body, air, and the water.

I love learning. I love that feeling of downloading and installing new software into my bioware, my operating system. New knowledge. New skill. New levels of competence and efficiency. It’s miraculous.

I tend to excel at whatever I put my mind to. Maybe that’s because I immerse myself, no pun intended. I gear up, watch instructional videos, do research online, ask questions, attempt to sate my insatiable curiosity. It’s a trait I appreciate even if it’s an addictive personality trait, as some would say.

SWIM CULTURE?

I wish I could do a video somehow for my channel. It might help a lot of people to see a middle aged black dude learn how to swim because even though there are plenty of black people who do swim, statistically speaking, it’s not enough. Tragically so.

Swimming while black: the legacy of segregated public pools lives on
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/04/black-children-swimming-drownings-segregation

There’s Nothing Funny About 70 Percent of Black Americans Not Knowing How to Swim
http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/06/29/nothing-funny-70-percent-black-americans-cant-swim

Why don’t black Americans swim?http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-11172054

But check this out:

31st Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet
https://dpr.dc.gov/service/31st-annual-black-history-invitational-swim-meet

I don’t like to see people leaning so heavily on — how do I say this? Past trauma, whether historic, cultural, or personal. Being stuck in victimhood is life-stealing. All of that history is true, egregious and had/has consequences but, to me, it’s a matter of emphasis. Place emphasis on what you can do and what you can control and what constructive actions you can take. Remember the past, teach the past, learn lessons from the past and always, always, always move forward.

2016 Year in Review

What did I do last year? I had ideas. I had plans. It didn’t go as I expected.

This isn’t about current events, politics, or the national and global zeitgeist. 2016 was a tire fire in many ways.

I did cross some things off my list. I took a handgun class. Have to follow up on that for more. I went hammock camping a few times. I went on some pretty cool bike rides. Did some good hikes. Went canoeing for the first time. I finally traveled abroad and got my first stamp on the new passport.

I lost family members. My cousin, Debbie. My second cousin, Cousin Bill. Rest in peace, family.

I had knee surgery, which is also a good reminder that time is passing. Subsequently, I didn’t do any Winter sports and my season pass went entirely to waste. Sometimes I think I may sell my snowboard gear and sometimes I think I’ll just buy some fancy boarding knee braces. I didn’t go backpacking at all. I only went camping a few times when I intended to be out a lot. I didn’t lose weight. Well, I did and then … the ciiiiircle of liiiiiife.

2016

I’m a visual person so imagery really helps to put things in perspective.