Monday, June 9, 2014

Reasoning with an angry bear

This morning I didn't swim cause I was coaching South Davis Masters, but I had a situation that I just have to blog (I'll swim at Bountiful Lake on the way home).

I was about 15 minutes into the workout with my swimmers when an old muscley guy was standing next to lane 1 looking like he was about to get in.  I came over and said, "Hey, how are you.  Are you here to join the Masters group?"

He kinda went off.  He shook his head and looked at me gruffly and said, "You know, I had surgery a few months ago and I'm just trying to get back into shape, and you guys are constantly kicking me out.  When it comes to anyone just coming in to swim a few laps, this place sucks!  I don't mean to take it out on you, but this place is just awful."

I smiled and said, "You know, I agree with you.  This pool is highly overbooked,  but if you're looking for a way to get back in to shape, with some friendly guidance and encouragement, that's what Masters is all about."

He said, "So what is this Masters thing?  I'm just an old guy and can't swim fast at all."  I told him Masters simply means its for anyone 18 years or older and that we have all sorts of levels of swimmers and lane 1 would be perfect for him to swim in.  He said, "Is there a an extra fee to swim Masters?"  I said "Technically, Yes, but just give it a try for a few times and see if it works for you.  We can help you overcome some of those injuries and help you get more efficient and stronger in the water."

It was like melting butter.  He apologized and said, "OK, what do you want me to do?"  I sent him off on a warmup of his favorite strokes.  He did sidestroke, some sort of breast stroke and then front crawl.  I gave him a couple pointers to help him, cause he was out of breath.  Told him to make sure to exhale completely underwater, and after he tried that he agreed that made a big difference.

I encouraged him to come again, and I'm pretty sure he will.  Once he finds value in the group, and get him introduced to other swimmers, I bet he'll be hooked.  He told me was a fighter and wasn't about to give in to age, with a walker and everything.  I loved it.  Gave him a fist bump and I bet he'll be excited for Wednesday.  He apologized for his gruff behavior, and told him I'd been in his shoes.  Sometimes you just want to swim, and the facility has the lanes overbooked making it difficult for people to just come in and get their workout in.   He complained that the "VA lap pool was too dang hot.  Like a jacuzzi." and that this pool was a decent temperature.

Kindred spirit this man.

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