July 9, 2013 by Marj Hatzell
Bug Boy ain’t what you’d call a natural born athlete. He isn’t terribly adept at team sports and once the travel-team-age stuff started we let him quit the town recreation sports. He just doesn’t enjoy it that much and while his motor skills have always been fairly advanced, he does struggle a teensy bit with coordination. Specifically bilaterally (that’s moving both sides of your body at the same time or in a specific pattern, for those of you not good at math).
Anywho, sports. Bug Boy took up fencing and diving in the past few years. He started diving two summers ago after teaching himself to swim. I signed him up for a few private lessons and after two lessons he passed the deep-end test. Since I had already paid, the teacher asked if I’d like him to learn to dive. The next thing I knew he was doing flips off the dive. Hence, diving team. He isn’t the most talented but he’s completely dedicated, very confident and enjoys it immensely. All wins in my book. He does it because he really likes it. Same with fencing. Isn’t the fastest, doesn’t always win but he LIKES it.
Well, this past Sunday we had an opportunity to attend a diving clinic at a local university (my alma mater!). He was excited to go. The coach there is an awesome dude and the kids love him. The get to go off of a high dive, there’s a bubble pool to minimize the pain of belly flops and hitting the water too hard. There’s a harness for learning new dives. There are monitors set on a delay so you can get out of the pool after your dive and watch yourself. It’s pretty neat. Even if it was 100 degrees in there. For three hours. I’m fairly certain I lost six pounds.
But he had fun. It was a three hour clinic. Naturally, two hours into it he slipped doing an inward (where you jump back but dive forward towards the dive. Yes, it’s scary to watch. no, I don’t watch it ever) and landed WHAMMO. Flat on his back. Belly flop style. Ouchy.
So there was a bit of a contusion on his back (because naturally he didn’t dive on the side where the bubble pool was) and cried a little. I put ice on his back. He said he was done. So I spent twenty minutes giving him a locker-room-style speech that would make NFL coaches proud. “You can do it,” I said. “You can get back on that horse and show that pool who’s boss. You love diving. You can learn a new dive! Come on, your back is going to be ok!” And honestly, I meant it. Climb back on the horse. Suck it up. Do it. You’re better than this. It’s just a tiny mishap. IT’S JUST FLESH WOUND! YOU’LL BE RIGHT AS RAIN IN THE MORNING!
So ten minutes later, he begrudgingly limped back up there, practiced his approach a few times and did a simple front dive. Then he got cockier. He practiced his approach and then got a little distracted and bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, SLIP, BOOM, SPLAT. He slipped off the dive, tried to grab it, hit his groin and fell into the water. He couldn’t quite climb out yet and didn’t want to admit what he hit on the dive(his privates. In front of girls. Girls his age) so he said, “I hit my butt!” And once he could climb out and I got him his towel, he said, ” I AM NOW DONE. THANKS A LOT, MOM.”
But then he looked down at his foot, which was now bleeding profusely all over the pool deck. Because in addition to landing on his crotch, he skinned his foot. Like, huge chunk of skin removed. Ouchy.
That’s when the wailing started.
And the blaming. I made him do it, it was my fault, yadda, yadda. If I let him stop the first time he’d be FINE and now he’s BLEEDING and his “BUTT” hurt.
So next time, screw the pep talk. I’m letting him quit. No one needs to get back on the damned horse.