Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jumping from the high board

When I was at school we would spend a large part of our summer holidays at the local swimming pool.  At first it was vacation swimming lessons with poor Mum having to spend hours at the pool each day watching us swim and try and keep track of us after swimming lessons amongst the hundreds of other kids and parents doing the same thing.  By the time we were in high school Mum could drop us at the gate in the morning and pick us up again in the afternoon tired, hungry and happy.

One of my most enduring memories of the pool (other than the hot chips from the kiosk and the even hotter older students who worked there) was the high board.  The diving pool had two boards, the low board and the high board.  The low board was close to the water and anyone who could swim could jump off that.  The high board was much higher and a rite of passage for all the local kids.  Those who could jump off it were part of the club.  Those who could dive off it were held in awe.  Those who had the courage to do a bombie off it despite the threat of being thrown out of the pool were legendary.

My younger sister was completely fearless and jumped off it by the time she was about 8.  The next few years she would spend all her time up on the high board with the rest of the club.  I'm fairly sure some time in high school she also gained legendary status by doing a bombie and not getting caught.  She is now working with tigers in Thailand!

On the other hand I was too scared to jump off the high board.  A couple of times I climbed the ladder and even walked to the edge of the board before I chickened out and had the shameful task of climbing back down the ladder which was packed with kids waiting their turn.

Just once I actually jumped.  I must have been about 15 and I remember that it was exhilarating.  The fall from the board to the water, the rush of water as I hit it and plunged to the bottom of the 4m pool, the floating back to the top and the cheers from my sister and cousins who knew how scared I was of heights.  I don't remember ever jumping again although I may have.  I do remember my sense of achievement and invincibility knowing that I could if I wanted to.

That was more than 20 years ago now and I was reminded of it when I embarked on a new physical challenge this week - Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation.  After 4 babies and spending the past 6 years either pregnant or breastfeeding, sometimes both, it's safe to say that my body is not even close to what I would like it to be.

It's time for change so I'm stepping up to the edge again and taking the plunge because this time it is my health at stake and not just my reputation.