“It must be boring,” said one of the swimmers this morning, “just watching people swim back and forth.”
No. It really isn’t. Something about the rhythmic splash-splash-splash of a single person swimming down the pool is very Zen — and I say that in the most Christian way possible.
It’s meditative. Contemplative.
Add in a few more swimmers, each with their own rhythm of splashes, and it’s a trio, a quartet, a quintet.
I also love my co-workers. I hadn’t realized how much I missed people, until I was spending time in quiet conversation with another lifeguard every weekday morning.
When I go back later in the day to coach, the atmosphere is totally different.
Confusion. Cacophony. Unbridled energy.
Forty to fifty swimmers fill the lanes. The youngest group splashes with their coach in the shallow teaching pool working on skills, or playing a game, or both. A couple of other swimmers practice a specific skill or do a late warm-up in the diving pool. Young swimmers are everywhere.
This, too, is perfect for me. The hustle-bustle-excitement of coaching. Both frustrating and rewarding. A puzzle to solve as I try to figure out what makes each child tick. I watch to see what skills they need to develop, and I fall asleep thinking about how to help one swimmer learn to dive, and another master the breaststroke kick.
Three hours a day. That’s all I work at a paying job.
Don’t tell them — but I think I would do it for free.
Two hours of quiet. One hour of craziness.
A perfect ratio.
And the perfect change of pace to balance out my time as a caregiver.
How did I get so lucky?