"All right," Shannen says slowly, tucking a lock of dark brown hair behind her ear. "Why did you glue that dolphin upside down?" Okay, so I'm a little distorted. "He's doing the backstroke." -- Tera Lynn Childs, "Forgive My Fins"
What's summer like without including swimming? Most kids I grew up with knew how to swim. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them. Encouraged by the catchphrase "Better late than never" I signed up for swimming in college and passed the course, but that didn't make me a swimmer or allay my fear of water.
Despite my hang-up, my wife and I enjoyed watching our niece and nephews swim competitively in the '70s. They lived in San Mateo and swam for a club called the Marlins.
Those of you who have children and are or were members of a swim club know what that's like. Besides competing against teams in the area, the Marlins traveled to cities as far east as Lodi and south to Fremont to test their abilities.
For several years after school let out, my family and I would change into our shorts and polyester shirts, douse our bodies with suntan lotion, and head to the pool where the Marlins were competing. Meets were usually held on Saturdays, and with swimmers ranging in ages from 5-18 competing, that meant all-day affairs.
Those were the rare days outside of holidays when the entire clan got together. At the end of each meet no one really cared how well or poorly the kids swam as long as they did their best and understood that it wasn't all about winning.
Our daughters also swam, but they chose not to compete, which was fine with us. Still, they loved going to the beach and would spend hours walking along the shore or frolicking in the surf.
I never expected to attend another swim meet after our niece and nephews retired since our only grandson was focused on playing basketball. Besides, I didn't know how he'd take to water outside the confine of his bathtub.
I was pleased to learn William's parents signed him up for swimming lessons with the Concord Vista Diablo Dolphin's Club. Although William wears a pump for his diabetes, that wasn't sufficient reason to keep him out of the pool.
On the contrary, he took to the water like a fish. In the span of two years William mastered the four basic swim strokes, including the freestyle, breast, back, and butterfly to compete with the best in his age group.
Since last year, my wife and I have been spending our summer weekends at swim meets and rooting our grandson on like we did our niece and nephews more than 40 years ago. And we can look forward to more of the same in 2015!
It's for certain the Dolphin's swim club's training isn't for slackers. Seeing how the instructors have been coaching our grandson and other swimmers at all levels of experience, I am convinced even I could've done more than tread water or the dog paddle under their tutorage!
The Vista Diablo Dolphin's Club, which was established in the '70s, is approximately 80 swimmers strong and will accept applications from anyone else wishing to join. Anyone can apply for membership, regardless of where you live.
The club operates entirely on membership dues, donations and fundraisers, and volunteer help is always welcome to offset operation costs.
Speaking of fundraisers, the Dolphins will be conducting one from 11 a.m. to closing Thursday, July 17, at Rocco's Ristorante Pizzeria at 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. If you never participated in their fundraiser, you pay only for what you order at Rocco's, whether you dine in or take out, and Rocco will donate a percentage of that total to the Vista Diablo Dolphin's Club. You don't need a flier. Let your server know you're there to support the Dolphin's and they'll do the rest.
Just to add a personal touch, Rocco has a vested interest in the Dolphin's Club since his kids once competed on their swim team when he lived in that neighborhood.
Treat your family to lunch or dinner, and know that you are also supporting a good cause. While you're there, ask about joining the Vista Diablo's Dolphin's Club if you have children and aren't already a member. The investment you make today for your kids will pay you and them untold dividends in their future.
Happy swimming, all!
Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.