I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

The Diver

In my spare time, I officiate at high school swim meets.  It’s something I love doing.  I love interacting with the kids and the coaches, and, if I haven’t said it before, I love the sport.

A typical swim meet has twelve events always in the same order: four swimming events, then diving, then a second warm-up, followed by the final seven events.  Last night I officiated a meet at a local high school.  It was their last home meet of the season and, therefore, senior night, a time when the graduating seniors are recognized.  Senior recognition generally takes place after diving.

When we got to diving, there was only one diver, a nice young man named Trey from the home team.  I went over to talk to him before we began.

diving board“Did you dive at the big meet this weekend?” I asked him, referring to an invitational diving meet held at one of the other high schools.

“No, ma’am,” he said.

When a teenager calls me “ma’am”, it can mean a variety of things:  one or both of his parents are from the south, one or both of his parents were in the military, or he’s a wise guy.  This young man definitely wasn’t a wise guy.  He was respectful and polite.  I appreciate that.

I went through my typical pre-diving speech.  “Listen carefully when they announce your dive,” I told him. “If you don’t think it is correct, speak up and we can check.  If something happens in the course of one of your dives, a door slams, a cell phone goes off, –”  Here, as if on cue, one of the many balloons decorating the deck popped.  We both smiled. “If a balloon pops, for instance, while you’re diving and it distracts you, signal me as soon as you come to the surface, and you may be allowed a re-dive.  Do you have any questions?”

“No, ma’am,” he said.

“You may make one practice approach and entry before we begin,” I told him.

“Thank you, ma’am,” he said.

As Trey climbed the ladder to the board, I turned to signal the announcer that we were about ready.   The announcer was on the side of the pool, talking.  I tried waving at him to get his attention, but he wasn’t looking my way.  Trey took his approach and chose not to enter.  He climbed off the board and waited.  I turned again to the announcer. It almost seemed intentional, like he was ignoring me.

Hmmph, I thought.  This is annoying. I waved again and got nothing. My next option was to blow my whistle.  A woman who helped with the team came bustling over to me.

“We trying to stall a little,” she said. “Trey’s father is a custodian and they’re trying to find him.”

“Is Trey a senior?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “And his father works evenings so he rarely gets to see Trey dive.  This is his last chance.”

I felt almost guilty for being annoyed.  There was a little flurry of activity at the door and several people entered, one of them a burly man wearing a gray custodian’s shirt.

“There he is,” she said. “We can start now.”

I looked at Trey and saw his face brighten.  His father smiled and gave him a little wave.

I used to think one of the most beautiful sights was a father holding his newborn child, but it was rivaled last night by the look of pride on one custodian’s face as he watched his son dive.

And I was privileged enough to behold it.


2 comments on “The Diver

  1. Alyssa
    February 1, 2013

    I love this. So sweet.

  2. Judith (Guion) Hardy
    February 1, 2013

    I love it when some little thing helps put my view back in perspective. What a great story.

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2013 by in Miscellaneous conversations, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , .

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