Sunday, August 24, 2008
Losing part of my youth
The Woodlands Athletic Center to be Closed
I don't know why this is bothering me, it's silly really. But many things that bother me are.
I grew up in The Woodlands, TX (1977-1987) and even though I have been in Missouri for over 2/3 of my life, I still call it home. My parents were volunteer firefighters and part of their "compensation" was a membership at The Woodlands Athletic Center (WAC) for the family. Kara and I spent most of the day everyday during the summer there. (Actually, that's not true; some days we spent the morning at the ice rink at The Wharf, then went to the WAC.) I spent most of the time in the dive well.
I think and talk about the WAC a lot even now at 33 years old. When the kids took swimming lessons this year I so wished they could have taken them there where I did. I wish we had a platform for them to dive from. There is nothing closer to flying. From 10 meters you have time to look around and think before you hit the water and then after you hit you are so far under water you have more time to think on the way back up. I am more comfortable in the water than anywhere on land. I don't have a lot of truly happy memories growing up but everyday at the WAC was rejuvenating.
I remember the water being sooo cold in the mornings after the early morning swim team practiced. I remember sneaking into the gym to pretend to be Olympic gymnasts. I remember taking my Red Cross training course and having to tread water forEVER! I remember new lifeguards trying to stop me from climbing to the platforms because they thought I was too small and the older guards telling them that I was fine, I dove constantly. I remember the one time I belly flopped off the 10m platform and nearly needed to be rescued (I managed to get to the side on my own, but it was a bit rough) and when the guard asked if I needed anything Kara told me to ask for a Coke for her! I remember the long, long climb all the way to the top and how quiet it was up there, surrounded by tall pine trees and blue sky.
I miss it a lot, I think those dives represent for me what was good about my childhood, where I could go to get away from the stress (real and perceived) of my life.