By Dennis L. Morgan
Blame it on the heat.
It’s been years, but I finally broke down and did something that I thought I would never do again.
Before you get any funny ideas, I will never root for the New York Yankees, I have not nor will I ever believe our government owes anyone a living (welfare is only for the truly needy, not the kind whose family goes from one generation to the next living in a welfare state of mind), nor do I believe ‘anything goes.’ But, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon with the heat index well over 100 degrees, I dug out my Speedo swimming trunks (I mean trunks) and went swimming to cool off.
This is quite the heatwave we’re in right now and the weekend was especially dangerous for people and animals who didn’t find protection.
We decided to wait till after the afternoon rush had subsided before slipping up to the pool. Now, there were adults in the pool when I got there, so I wasn’t surrounded by youngsters. In fact, on Saturday, the number of people in the pool was fewer than I anticipated. Because of that, we could pretty much do what we want. At my age, that was bobbing in the water, making sure the water line doesn’t go over my head.
Speaking of my head, I don’t remember having a problem years ago with too much sun on the top of my head. But, such isn’t the case now. I wish I had some sort of protection for the hairline, but swim caps are only for the likes of Michael Phelps, Janet Evans and those Olympians who fly in the water. Here in Elgin, a seed corn hat would have to suffice. Maybe one of those made of mesh which allow the air in while protecting the dome.
It wasn’t so bad on Saturday, but on Sunday we spent more than an hour in the pool and the top of my head looks more like red salmon instead of George Hamilton tan.
Speaking of Sunday, floating around among more than 50 in the pool at that time I got to see some of the other adults in the pool display their diving skills. You could tell they were adults because when they hit the water, the splashes were much bigger than those of the youngsters there. Among the dives performed were the pencil, the click pen as well as assorted flips.
After they left, I was ‘forced’ to do the famous Morgan back flip popularized in the movie ‘Back to School’ by none other than Rodney Dangerfield (it actually was nothing more than a back flip). I haven’t done anything like that since the ‘Pool Olympics’ in Grant back in 1999. But, since it’s like riding a bike (you never forget), I grudgingly climbed the steps on the high board, walked out to the edge, turned around, bounced a flew times and did the dive. A 53-year-old man acting like a kid, well sort of. It wasn’t quite a full rotation as I didn’t nail the landing, my belly did however. Groans rose from the pool and lifeguard stand (Pool Manager Sue Vanis wasn’t impressed). The only thing impressive about the backward flip was the large red welt on the left side of said belly. It only stung for a couple of hours.
Front flips, back flips, and everything else was much easier years ago. Now, back in the days of my youth, ‘Kampy’ and I spent Sunday afternoons at the Seward Municipal Pool. It wasn’t a conventional pool by any means, it was round with a diving pool in the middle with one meter and three-meter spring boards and a four-level tower. Lifeguards were never safe from ‘cannonballs’ and ‘can openers’ especially off the high tower. The lifeguard stand was easily accessible and there was nothing they could or would do about the soaking. On most hot days, they were glad to get wet.
Those days are gone, but the pool, especially on these hot days, is the place to be.
Elgin is very fortunate, for a town its size, to have a swimming pool. Pools have always been a rite of summer for children of all ages, and parents too. While many have benefitted from the pool thorugh the years, it is showing some wear and tear which, someday soon, will require some major upkeep. I’m sure the City of Elgin, who operates the pool, is planning for the day when the pool needs and gets a major facelift. Should the day come when the community no longer has a public swimming pool, we all will suffer for it. This pool is used by persons of all ages and its’ future should not be left to chance in the years ahead.