In at the Deep End

Part One...

Life has a funny way of giving me what I want when I least expect it. I have been too exhausted to blog this week. I’ll explain why.  Read on…

As a little African Caribbean boy, I became aware of being good at land sports.  My teacher’s realised this too, and so I found myself competing at an early age, both with and against older boys. The pros, increased popularity, the cons, the sense of displacement, struggling to fit in with your peers but also not fitting in with the older crowd.  Just as my heroes Muhammad Ali and Pelè my sporting ability would be the catalyst for my personal growth.  The politics of the time fuled a great deal of my energy and although from my perspective, I don’t beleive I was ever arrogant (I was probably challenging for one so young) and generally people liked me as their regard at the time felt genuine.

Today, they might be recognised as the senior leadership team, those responsible for running my old junior school in a tiny little corner of north London.  Those men and women were ahead of their time.  They were very media savvy even back then.  These were the days the of the local press and every advantage was taken to ensure a positive reflection of  individual and collective achievements at the school.  Kids who did not attend my junior school, always thought that we thought we were special, but we were not the ones responsible for creating this reality.  That was down to, a mostly caring staff, working in partnership with our parents and guardians.  Sad to say, some kids at the school did not experience this profound sense of care.  They were the one’s who suffered degrees of neglect and unfortunately being exposed to a loving caring environment seem to bring out the worst in them.  They were the one’s who later went on to solvent abuse etc.

I digress.  Most athletes have an Achilles heel, for me that was the odd hater and the swimming pool.  Although, school was a loving caring environment, home had it challenges, namely my stepfather.  Sleep was my way of escaping his negative, spiteful nature and energy.  One night while sleeping, I fell asleep so deep to escape that I experienced what was later described as an epileptic fit.  Rushed to hospital in semiconscious state, then later prescribed medication, which I took for about the next 3 years.

Once the school were informed of this traumatic incident, the first action they took, was to ban my little ass from swimming.  By the second summer of my enforced exhile from the swimming pool, frustration really started to set in.  Living a short distance from the local Lido, on a late summer morning, I set off to meet some friends at the Lido.  Friends, I use that word cautiously.  Anyhow, on this day I manage to place myself in a place of vulnerability where water and my haters happen to be.  Someone, from among the so called friends decided to push me into the deep end.  I remember struggling for a brief moment but I knew this was not my time to die.  I survived but more importantly no long-term pyschological damage was done.

Flash forward some fifty plus years.  Recently I learned to swim, not at Olympic level but I am able to experience the exhilaration that swimming offers.  If that were not enough I have been offered the opportunity to become an accredited Aqautic Exercise Instructor.  The training and learning started in earnest this week.  This time I am back in the deep end because I want to be.  This journey entitled In At The Deep End will be the theme of my future blogs.  I am not sure if I have created an oxymoron, but this is Peak Life in at the deep end.

Peak Life…

 

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