It’s Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer. Summer in the Sunshine State, for me, is all about swimming. Steven Spielberg did a number on my head with Jaws, though. For a while, I couldn’t even take a bath. I live near the beach, and love walking on it, but I can’t go in past my ankles without hearing that dah-dum. . . dah-dum. . . (Thanks, Mr. S). In the spirit of paralyzing irrational fear American ingenuity, I enjoy the next best thing: the wave pool at Adventure Island. Fun in the sun, and no sharks.
The wave pool is a lot like life. Lessons learned here apply everywhere.
- You have to swim. In the wave pool, as in life, if you don’t swim, the current carries you along. Either make a choice and move deliberately, or you’ll be taken where you don’t want to go.
- We can all play together. I ease into the water wearing my old lady swim dress. Young people in funky swimwear, with even funkier body art, splash in next to me. We’re all just in it for a little fun. There’s room for everyone.
- Keep an eye on the little ones. Until they can swim, children need to be restricted to shallow water, and never leave your sight. As they grow, they venture deeper, still under watchful eyes. The goal is not to keep the child out of the wave pool, but rather to prepare him so he can one day swim without you.
- You can do more if you accept help. My darling soul mate and husband loves the outdoors, and isn’t afraid of sharks. He can swim in the ocean, but asthma keeps him from holding his breath for very long in chlorinated water. He’s not too proud to wear a swim vest in the wave pool. If he didn’t use it, he’d miss out on the fun.
- Most people behave themselves. Once in a great while, someone takes a grab. Not an accidental bump or squeeze, but a deliberate, creepy grope. No need to get flustered or let it spoil your day. A loud and confident, “Hey! Keep your hands to yourself, perv!” is usually sufficient. When one person acts up, there are fifty people behaving themselves. Those are the people to focus on.
- You’re at the mercy of God. No matter what your plans, no matter how much fun you’re having, a sudden lightening storm can change them. And just as fast as the storm came, the sun can come back out again.
- It’s going to end. At closing time, a lifeguard makes you leave—ready or not. It’s a lot easier to accept the call, and go home to rest after a day of vigorous swimming than after a day of lounging in the shade. Try to pack as much as you can into your day.
Summer’s coming to a close. Make sure you get in a little wave action while you can!