Monday, July 28, 2008

A New Pool: better living through bulldozing

There are no words more beautiful in a swim-coach family than these: a new pool.

Imbued with the sweet scent of hope that only a UV air-purification system can deliver and able to erase the memory of unidentifiable rashes like a diatomaceous-earth filter, a new pool is a harbinger of better things to come in any swim-coach family.

The swim-coach family will say to themselves, "This is going to be the year that Daddy finally kicks the Singulair habit." Or maybe they’ll say, "This is the year that the guys from the local OSHA office stop calling and asking if there’s anything they can do to help." Or perhaps, "This is the year that the microbiology class stops leaving petri dishes out to collect mold samples from the pool air." Bottom line, a new pool is cause for much rejoicing.

And now my family stands metaphorically perched on the metaphorical starting block of a literal new pool. Way back when Mr. Coach was hired, the university’s game plan had been to build a new pool in 3 to 5 years. Then economic reality hit and, like a seven-year-old in the 25-yard butterfly, the plans for a new pool have plummeted, surfaced and plummeted many times.

But this past year, somebody taught that seven-year-old how to get his hips into it and he finally touched the wall with both hands and the umpteen million dollars needed to get that pool built. My reaction when my husband told me (for the umpteenth time) that the new pool would get built? "I’ll believe it when I see it," I said. (I’m a little bitter about the Singulair bills.)

But earlier this summer, I began to see it. The architect’s plans were unveiled and a name for the new facility was announced. Trees were slaughtered and earth has been getting bulldozed around the new natatorium’s site, destroying the delicate micro-ecosystems where furry groundhogs have shuffled and snuffled for centuries and migrating songbirds have stopped to refresh themselves on thistle seeds and honeysuckle nectar. Soon, the lives of a half-dozen innocent tennis courts will be snuffed out.

And I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I’m thinking of throwing a party to celebrate this senseless carnage of nature and non-revenue-generating sports.

And while Mr. Coach works diligently to explain to the powers-that-be why starting blocks and lane lines are must-haves on his start-up costs list, I have been assembling my own list of must-haves: cushioned, ergonomically-correct seats in the stands (with cupholders), a timing-system control console that you don’t need an engineering degree to understand (for when the work-study students don’t show up and I have to help operate the timing system), refrigerated drink dispensers in the coach’s office, and a wood-fired pizza oven would be nice, too.

I would further request that the new facility get the rights to play a different version of the national anthem before meets, the version that I know Mr. Coach really wants to play: the Jimi Hendrix guitar solo – but it needs to be the studio version, not the live one from Woodstock. No one can accuse Mrs. Coach of being insensitive.

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