Every now and then, just to boost the excitement in our marriage, Mr. Coach likes to coach me. I am still new to the world of competent swimming – which is to be distinguished from the world of survival swimming which I experienced as a child in an East Coast town where there were no pools so I had to learn how to swim with the jelly fish and horseshoe crabs. As a result, I entered adulthood able to swim but with form best described as "paranoid."
However, a serious injury suffered a couple years ago brought my daily running regimen to a dramatic halt and after a couple of weeks of inactivity and realizing that I wasn’t going to channel my excess energy into something inane like housecleaning, I decided to finally embrace swimming. I also wanted to master a flip turn before the youngest of my children did because there is nothing more obnoxious than a seven-year-old who can flip turn better than his mother, the woman who gave him life itself.
So it’s been a long, slow building process. You would think, coming from a competitive track background, I would have the leg strength and lung capacity for swimming. You would think. In reality, this has not been the case. My shapely and supple calves are now pretty much vestigial, like an appendix or those little hairs on the tops of your toes. In other words, they’re useless.
And my desire to breathe whenever I want was initially a very serious impediment to progress. I would stop after a set of...something, and tell Mr. Coach, "I’m seeing little black dots and zingy things." And he’d say, "Well, don’t do that." And then I would say, "Yeah, I’m laughing on the inside." And he’d be all like, "Ha, ha. Now go again at the top." And then I’d say I never knew how much Mr. Coach wanted to be a widower because at the rate things were going, he would be in about 15 minutes.
See, here’s the other issue with how Mr. Coach coaches me – he coaches me completely differently than the athletes he doesn’t make babies with. Other athletes can dive in to do the fly, come up doing the breaststroke, stop about half way through for a breather and then finish upside down and feet first. They’ll climb out of the pool, come over to him for their critique and he’ll talk about the one thing they did right: "You know, Edna, I really liked the way you stepped up to the block there. That gives us something good to build on." And then Edna toddles off to the stands, feeling all empowered and glowing with positive self-esteem.
I rip double-digit amounts of seconds off my 100 free, I surface (seeing black dots and zingy things) and Mr. Coach says, "OK, that was good, but here’s what we’re going to do differently the next time...." And then Mr. Coach gets an earful about how much money he saved not having to pay for epidurals.
So Mr. Coach tries not to coach me too often. And that’s probably as it should be. At least for the sake of our marriage.