I’ve been suffering from "swimmer’s ear" for the last few weeks. I’m not sure what brought it on since I haven’t been to the pool since before Christmas, but it’s really annoying. Sometimes my ear "whistles" and sometimes it just rings. I remember distinctly the first time I had this ailment. It was not when I was a child on the swim team or the dive team as I got a little older. It wasn’t when I swam across a lake just to impress a guy when I was 15 (I’ll have to tell you that story later). It happened about 5 or 6 years ago.
My co-leader in my Girl Scout troop suggested we try a new pool for our summer swim party. They had some amazing outdoor features including a huge bucket that was big enough to dump water on about 30 people at the same time. Price-wise it was reasonable, so I agreed and we planned a day. The Dog Walker was twelve and he loved being part of a scout troop, boys or girls, so we took him swimming with us.
|The pool is currently getting a makeover. They have fun day-by-day shots at this photo blog.|
Most of the girls in our troop were older and perfectly capable of taking care of themselves in a swimming situation, so we established a central point with one of our leaders and the rest of us scattered around with the girls. The Dog Walker took off by himself to explore the area. It wasn’t long before he returned. "Mom! They have a high dive!" he yelled a little too loudly. A bunch of people stared at us as he tugged my hand to show me his discovery. My son knew that I had done a lot of swimming as a child, and I always made it a big deal that I wasn’t afraid of the high dive when none of them would venture near it.
At our old pool, several of the older kids had actually committed the ultimate crime by climbing back down the ladder rather than jumping into the deep water. I would show off with a rather clumsy (since I’m old and big now) swan dive, but they thought it was the greatest. The Dog Walker wasn’t afraid of going off the high dive, but he would enjoy it more if he could get me to join him.
As we walked toward the deeper pools, I glanced about, mentally spotting each girl in the troop and making sure they were within sight of another leader or older girl. I guess I could disappear for a few minutes and nobody would notice. The complex was huge with several shallow areas and then a couple of deep pools. I saw the high dives and turned in that direction. I had already agreed that of course I wasn’t scared, and yes, I would take my turn. The Dog Walker pulled at my hand, "Not that way," he said and pointed. My eyes followed his finger. Now I had seen diving platforms before, but only on the Olympics.
I glanced at his face and saw the excitement there. I couldn’t disappoint him. I slowly mounted the stairs. We hiked past the 5-meter platform and made our way to the 7.5-meter (24.5 ft!). There was one even higher (30 feet), but I managed to convince him that we were good. We walked to the edge of the platform. I looked longingly across the pool at what I considered high dives. They looked puny from our birds’ eye view.
**Editor's Note: I decided to review the official heights of Olympic springboards and diving platforms just to give some perspective. The "high dive" is the 3 meter (about 10 ft.) springboard. The Olympic platforms are 5, 7.5 and 10 meters. Mom is standing on a 7.5 meter (24.5 ft.) diving platform. More then twice the height of her normal springboard.
"Come on, Mom!" he encouraged. "Jump!" At least he wasn’t expecting me to dive. The attendant looked at me skeptically, I’m sure he was expecting me to bail. I glanced down at the water. It was SOOO far away! Another look at my son and I knew I wasn’t going to get out of this easily. I said a quick prayer, plugged my nose, and jumped. The free fall was terrifying, but it wasn’t the worst part. I sliced through the water like a knife…a very heavy knife…and plummeted downward.
|Actual platform Mom jumped from the red arrow.|
The water was 20 feet deep, but I never touched the bottom. If I would have I could have gotten some momentum to push me back to the surface. I have been close to drowning before (again, another story for another time), but this time my lungs were burning and my ear felt like it was going to explode. I finally broke the surface and gulped deep breaths. I shook my head, trying to ease the pain in my ear. I couldn’t let my son know how close to death he had forced me to be. I looked for the platform and waved. He waved back, then turned around and headed down the stairs.
**Editor's Note: Dog Walker claims he eventually did jump off the same platform. I cannot confirm or deny. Although I would guess he stuck with the 5 meter (16 ft.) platform.