Swimming pool greatness: A personal account of an [almost] sporting triumph

in #lifelast year

My toes curled around the tiled right-angle at the edge of the swimming pool, gripping almost monkey-like, as I prepared to leap into the cool refreshing waters in pursuit of greatness. Visions of the glorious leap I'd soon make, the subsequent triumphant entry into the annals of back-yard-swimming-pool greatness filled my mind, obscuring everything else: The shouts of two of my brothers urging me on together with the encouraging looks from the two young girls, daughters of our family friends whose house we were at faded into the background as I focused. Rather lamentably, any thought of common sense, physics, hydrodynamics, action and reaction, excruciating pain and shame also faded into nothing. Yep, no thought of those insignificant matters at all...Just visions of glory, my attainment of the title, "paragon of the pool." Glorious!

There I stood, upon the precipice of magnificence, a figure of soon-to-be-legendary-status, ready to spring skyward and into the wobbly blue water and forever engrave my name, and brilliant deed, upon the honour-roll of awesomeness...

...Only, things weren't to unfold exactly to plan what had seemed a good idea at the time. The day would live in infamy, go down in the annals of fucking stupidity within my family's long and distinguished history. It's funny painfully true and quite disturbing that those infamy-annals my family holds so very prominently feature me...Hmm, What does that say about me? Adventurous, fearless, brave, strong, mighty STUPID?

Back to the story.

The day had started like any other visit to our friends house, a doctor-friend of my parents. The fact he was a doctor was fortuitous as it turns out...The doctor and his wife had a couple daughters around my age and we got on really well. I was nine years old at the time, so the year was 1979...Yes, a long time ago, but not so long I that don't recall the tragic events.

These friends had a pretty cool house with an indoor swimming pool which occupied the kids whilst the parents talked about boring adult stuff. We'd head over there when it was really hot, which happens a lot in Australia, and spend hours in the pool then have dinner or lunch.

So, a day like many others. Splashing, jumping and other in-pool-shenanigans ensued and the day seemed destined to follow a well-worn path - A typical summers day with friends.

As with most kids we had pool toys: Balls, blow-up-whacky-things to club each other with, blow-up rings and those styrofoam kick-board things. Us boys would attempt to batter each other to death whilst the girls would pretend not to be impressed - But of course we knew they were. It was rowdy but good clean kids-fun.

It's here that the roadmap to greatness pain and suffering begins to unfold. At the time I was clueless, now...Well, it's sort of funny. I'm not sure why things went the way they did to be honest - I mean I can literally think of no valid reason for me to come up with such idiocy however considering this is the interwebs I'm going to blame my older devil-brother. He was the root-cause for most of my stupidity as a kid, broken bones and painful experiences, and besides, he's not here to defend himself anyway. I blame him.

Back to the story.

My toes curled around the tiled right-angle at the edge of the swimming pool, gripping almost monkey-like, as I prepared to leap into the cool refreshing waters.

In my hands I held a short styrofoam kick-board/paddle-board thing. These things were designed to aid in learning to swim or to provide additional floatation-assistance to the upper-body enabling one to do leg-work keeping the upper body immobile. This one was probably no more than about 50cm in length from flat end to rounded tip.

The sounds of those not willing to achieve greatness through magnificent pool-jumping faded to nothing, like droplets of water on hot concrete. I stood, monkey-gripping, with my toes focussing on the moment, the leap, the landing...The glory and then...

...An idea struck me. In a moment of clarity I knew what I must do to make my moment of greatness ascend to even greater dizzying heights of magnificence.

I can see it in my minds' eye right now as I sit in this café, safe and secure, eating lunch whilst tapping away on my lap top - I can feel the magnificent moment unfolding. Me standing there deploying my moment-of-greatness-idea, the cool and inviting waters wobbling around below me, the awed gapes of those plebs around me, the unworthy, peasants unwilling to accept greatness into their lives or have the gumption to strive for it.

Back to the story.

My epiphany, the one which would accelerate my greatness into the stratosphere, was to put the end of the styrofoam kick-board into my mouth and bite down on it, holding it between my teeth and hands also. This done, a firm galenkp-chopper-grip upon the board, monkey-grip toes tensed like coiled springs for my leap and visions of glory in my mind...I leapt forth into the sky in a similar a mighty eagle may leap to attain flight - Greatness taking flight! It was spectacular - I shit you not.

I'm not sure how high my magnificent leap was, 10 or 15 metres at least, in my mind, but probably much less than that in reality. I felt the wind catch the board a little as I rose and fell. My greatness-fixated-nine-year-old-brain didn't heed the warning signs. Moments later I felt the water beginning to envelope my feet in it's soft, cool fluidy-embrace...My knees were next, my nine-year-old man-gear then chest felt the waters' caress...Then under I went - My greatness momentarily obscured from my appreciative audience.

The operative words here though are, under I went. You see, there was a slight flaw in my roadmap to greatness, one I'd failed to identify in my haste for greatness...Yep, styrofoam doesn't submerge without massive amount of force being exerted upon it - I know this now. I went down, the board hit the water and its natural buoyancy thrust it back skywards, in a leap that probably rivalled my own, tearing it from within my tenacious galenkp-chopper-grip.

I knew right away I was in trouble. I don't know, maybe it was the almighty snap I heard/felt, maybe it was when the pain hit home. Intense pain. Mind-numbing pain. The pain you hear about and wince, screwing up your face thinking how glad you are it wasn't you! That sort of pain.

I would like to say I took the pain like a man, like I would have as an older person, but I was a little brownish, half-drowned skinny kid and it fucking hurt! Come on, cut me some slack. I didn't take the pain well.

Back to the story.

A primal scream echoed through the pool area, then another. Then I started drowning. Finally I surfaced again and my hand went to my mouth, came away...No blood. Another guttural howl of pain escaped my mouth and I half-drowned half-swam my way to the side of the pool in intense pain all the way. That was when mum and dad burst into the indoor-pool area following the echoes of their brain-damaged-greatness-seeking-child second born son followed closely by the doctor and his wife. By then I was crying in pain, not howling, having controlled myself a little - Screaming in pain isn't really my thing I guess. [It was initially though.]

Naturally I was immediately administered first aid by the doctor...My brother kindly unkindly offered some mocking words of derision during the tratment and explaining what I had done. To be honest I was in a bit of pain so didn't take it all in...But what happened, I hear you wonder?

The damage I incurred that day, other to my pride, was that four of my teeth were broken off about halfway down the tooth, far enough to expose the nerve running through each one. So, my two top and two bottom front teeth were broken cleanly off half way down each one and the nerves were severed...Funnily, they were still stuck in that asshole-board, the teeth...We only found them later still stuck where I had bitten down, clinging forlornly to my vision of glory and greatness. I kept them for a while to remind me of how near to paragon of the pool I had come.

So there you have it - A lamentable true story but one that taught me many things. I learned that sometimes a persons' hubris and ego can cause pain, not just to the individual but those around them also. I learned that no plan survives contact with the enemy and the importance of thinking things through a little better. I also learned that styrofoam kick-boards are asshole-things that don't submerge.

It also taught me, much later, that sometimes laughing at oneself can be a great healer. I'm not sure why I seemed always to be the one to break-out and do something off-beat, dangerous, adventurous, reckless or downright dumb but it was often the case. My childhood is full of such stories - It's amazing I survived to be honest, but I did and all of these moments form the tapestry of my life. My family laughs about this story now and it gets reenacted like charades in a cruel parody of the actual events.

I laugh along though, why not huh? I've done some fucking stupid things in my life but somehow manage to survive each one...Sort of like Wile-E-Coyote I guess - Always coming up with interesting ways to do things and almost, but not quite, dying in the process.. src

I think I'll tell the story of when my brother and I tied our bikes together next...It was a few years later...I almost lost my man-parts but fortunately they survived. Hmm, I wonder if that has something to do with Faith and I not having kids. Look out for it if you want a chuckle.

Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default

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Image shows me in a much happier place...Teeth intact.


Ouch🤪. I wonder how I made it to 21 years of age looking back at some of the things I did as a young lad lol.

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I hear ya...Some of us are still doing them too...Not me or you though right? 🤔😇

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No of course we don't 🤣🤣

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I blame you...You're a bad influence on me. :)

That I am hahahaha 😜

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I can just say ouch. Having had my own share of failed belly flops etc. I unfortunately did not grow out of it.. 😂 I was doing a backflip into the pool even in the beginning of this year. I'm 43, perhaps it's time to stop before I injure myself. On Saturday I did handstands on the beach with a friend fearing for my face if my arms give out 🤔🙄 but do we learn? I dove into a pool when I was 18 and nearly broke my neck. Had a soft neckbrace for 6 weeks. And yet I still do stupid things. Glad you survived your great moment. I enjoyed reading it and it brought back the memories

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Yep, ouch covers it pretty well. Still, time has a way of diminishing pain, emotional or physical, and 40 years later I find myself looking for more dumb things to do. It’s just the way of it.

Seems like you’ve had, (are having), your fair share of moments also.

Thanks for commenting.

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I don’t know if you are familiar with the works of Chuck Palahniuk (wrote Fight Club) but he has a short story called Guts, which involves a pool and a tragic accident. Your story reminded me of that, though yours is quite mellow compared to it, tragically funny the way you write it, but certainly it must have been horrible when it happened to you.

I've heard of Fight Club but not read it, nor have I read Guts.

Later in life I came to handle pain, and fear for that matter, quite well however as a 9 year old having some teeth broken off like that well, it wasn't the best feeling ever. Kids are resilient though I guess.

I'll check out that Guts piece...Cheers for bringing it to my attention. Oh also, whiskey stones testing happening Saturday morning. 😉

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Fair warning, a few people reportetly passed out when Chuck read that on his book tour, it’s not for the faint of heart.

I'm not the faint of heart sort of guy Eve - Generally anyways. I'll give it a shot and see how it goes.

Edit: I just took a read @eveuncovered It's written so matter of factly isn't it? Almost like he's just going through the motions of telling the story, so emotionless really. It conveys hopelessness, despondency. Pretty brutal but I got a few laughs as well. The bit about his sister giving birth to a baby with two heads that both look like him for one.

I have done some very graphic and brutal writing, probably not something I'd put on steem though. It's part of a 440,000 word book I wrote - Historical drama/adventure story. The battle scenes are explicitly graphic. Not really teem-suitable. Probably not due to the graphic nature, it's just dark.

Anyway, thanks for sending that. I think I might check out the Fight Club.

Oh my. Your poor teeth! 😂

And yes, definitely looking forward to the bicycle story.

My teeth were a bit worse for wear but they’re all good now. I was young at the time and luckily had some new ones come through.

I’ll get that one written...Was also painful. 😬

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awesome story. loved it. We all do dumb things as kids. I suspect you are around my age and during those years the scenarios we would get into it's really a wonder how so few of us died - or at the minimum got horribly maimed. Like you, i have tales of glory that resulted in intense pain although i never ripped teeth out of my face. How was there no blood? yikes. That must have been a long road to recovery.

You haven’t lived unless you’ve almost died I think, and back in the day we gave it a good shot through stupidity and an overestimation of our own ability huh? 🤗

No blood because the base of the teeth was intact, just kind of snapped them off. Oh well, that’ll teach me...But it didn’t. 😐

My next story hurt a different part of my anatomy...Was almost as dumb as the pool incident, but not quite.

Thanks for commenting.

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Wow...I'm sure glad to see that ' I ' wasn't the dumbest kid in the world, after all...

Yep, I think I'm in the top 3.

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Epic story telling; it has me at the edge wondering what you did only to laugh when I read it! Only to then visualize the moment of pain! Thanks for sharing buddy!

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Haha, yep it's a pretty funny thing really. I can't believe I was that bloody dumb! But I was. Glad you liked it.


And for some reason I have a finger in my mouth and am clamping down on it...

That is one epic fail right there! Teeth find present in board, how did you feel looking at that?

Ouch ouch ouch, and 😂 👍🏽

Haha, yeah it was a bit ouchy.

I think seeing the teeth in the board made me laugh as it was a little later that night. I recall my parents trying to lighten the mood a little after I'd calmed down, take my attention off what I'd done. The doctor had put something on the teeth, I know not what, to prevent air hurting them - It was the exposed nerves that hurt you see. I can't recall but I suspect he gave me something to relax me also as I recall being quite calm and unconcerned later that night.

Glad you liked it. I know it's a long read and most won't take the time but it was sort of fun writing it. I was picturing my brownish skinny self standing there at the edge of the pool...I can actually recall the moment quite vividly even now. Writing it was fun. Anyway, glad you liked it.

Yep, just a little.

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Al the build-up, I was defiantly not expecting you to put that thing in your mouth!!! Crazy to think how we have survived this long??? 😂😂😂

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What an idiot huh? Managed to survive many such dumb things though. 🤣

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My first thought as a mother was Oh no, those were probably not baby teeth! In the beginning I thought you were going to say you found some high surface to jump off of into the shallow end and broke your ankles. My husband and his crazy siblings would jump off the roof into their outdoor pool, but luckily there were no injuries.

You must have had an amazing bite grip. In your position I think my grip would have been weak and my mouth would have just released it. Maybe you should have that evaluated. You might have some sort of world record jaw.

Excellent story telling. I don't think it was that stupid of a thing to have done as a kid, I mean hey, at least you had a bit of hands-on science instead of staring mindlessly at a video game :)

Having a son, who is much more physical than my daughter, I am starting to see just how crazy your average boy can be.

After the fact my parents decided to have my bite-force tested. It seems it sits somewhere between hyena and crocodile. I know how to temper it for each situation at hand though Ginny - A nibble here, a little bio there...So no worries there. 😉 (20% Ginny.)

Anyway...Yeah, kids can get up to some stupid shit and yet they survive mostly. It could have been worse, I could have smoked crack, or declared myself gender-neutral I guess.

I think your son will grow up with the opportunity to explore his creativity - That comes from parents, as much as from within oneself. Hopefully he doesn't try to do my trick though. I'm sure he will test your sanity though, at some stage.

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I do believe you are coming out of your shell @galenkp. 20 percent - impressive ;)

I'm pretty sure the boy is already testing my sanity. He decided to ride his sister's tricycle full speed through the back doors and down the step, but he did stop before going down the porch steps. He's only 6, so I'm sure by 7 he will be driving that thing through rings of fire.

Call me when he tries to jump the steps...I'll try and talk him out into it! 👿

So yeah, just a little nibble-talk and I'm at 20%. 😇

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Lol. I get the feeling there is a steep jump from 20 to 25. Just a feeling though...

Hmm, I think you may be right. I know it.

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Parallel universe my friend..... Evil Knievel on bikes and ramps. Jumped one 24ft. / 7.3152 m.

That is a long ways for a 10 yr old.....!!

Old frankenstien pedal bicycles. Clunkers made of other scrap bikes. We welded the front forks to a second set and made choppers with banana seats

It was not pretty...... But we would fly....... Like eagles. And land with a clatterty bang.

Most of my scars and crooked bottom teeth come from that type of landing.

My older bro saved up and got one like this. His was a gold and brown color. I remember it was really hard to steer...... Ahhhh thanks for the memories.... Painfull as they may be..... They were easier times. The best of times. Bloody & bruised but the best........

Haha, that's a killer bike man. He would have been rollin' like a boss!

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