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Belly Flop Off the High Dive

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In my late high school years, physical education classes were as challenging as math classes, but I tried harder. I got my leg brace off on Valentines Day the year I turned sixteen. I loved my phys ed teacher! I pushed myself harder because I wanted her approval. In the spring of my senior year, we had swimming lessons at the local pool. I am not a strong swimmer and I have a love/hate relationship with water. I love the ease of movement in water but my older brother drowned while saving another boy. I am a bit afraid of deep water and definitely of heights.

Miss Gill offered extra credit for any student who dove from the high board. I had trouble with the lower board and was absolutely terrified of the high board. As the semester wore on, the other girls racked up their extra credit and, by the last class, I was the only student who had not taken that plunge. I watched the clock anxiously, trying to screw up the courage to climb that ladder and walk that plank.

When there was almost no time left, I climbed out of the pool and walked on the edge. I walked past the low board and headed to the ladder. Wow! It still looks just as high up in the rafters as it does from the surface of the pool! I slowly, slowly, slowly climbed to the top. The board looks so long! That is a long walk! I wanted to turn around about halfway, but Miss Gill would not let me. My classmates were busy doing their thing and seemed unaware that I was facing one of my greatest fears. (Sorry for the mix in case)

I was committed since a U-turn was not permitted. A jump off was all I needed, Miss Gill said. I decided about halfway down to try to do a beautiful dive. I hit the water so hard, I was red from head to toe on my front, completely winded, and Miss Gill had to pull me to the edge where I struggled to start breathing again.

A week later was graduation week. Sunday was the Baccalaureate service. Monday through Wednesday was finals week, packing to leave the school (boarding school) for the last time and all kinds of other last time tasks. Friday morning was our Honors Breakfast. I sang in the choir and I played a solo on the piano. The Honors Breakfast was the chance for the teachers to award students for GPA, attendance and the like. Dad was there, the only time he ever heard me play the piano. One of the awards I received stunned the entire room. It turned out, to everyone’s disbelief, that I had received the highest grade in PE! Me! The student who did not do anything successfully! Miss Gill kept me in place after stunning me with that one because she was not finished. She then gave me (remember Dad was there) the one I still treasure to this day - the “I Can” award. Because I never gave up, because I never said I could not do something, she announced that “I can’t” is not in my vocabulary.

I thought about that high dive belly flop today. This week has been an experiment in a mostly Paleo diet. I’ve lost 3 pounds and have an amazing amount of energy. Today, life intervened. A coworker brought her homemade lasagna (ground turkey) and I did not say no. Monday, she said something about a friend who was always trying some weird diet. I said nothing, thinking she would put Paleo in the same category. She’s a great cook and is someone I care about, so I did not want to risk hurting her feelings. I had the lasagna and enjoyed it.

It puts me over on calories and carbs, but…the reminder of that belly flop cropped up. I am not in the “screw it, I’ve sabotaged myself today and I might as well continue.” I feel so good right now doing Paleo that I picked up where I left off at dinner tonight.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love your story because it reminds me what an impact positive reinforcement from a teacher can do for a child. I wish they knew the importance of what they are capable of. I am so glad you were recognized for your valiant effort. That same person is inside you and you will persevere.
    1839 days ago
    Oh, I LOVE that story! emoticon

    And good for you, for jumping right back into your eating plan after a diversion. That is the way to build successful habits for LIFE - it's ok to indulge occasionally, as long as we always come back to taking care of ourselves.
    1840 days ago
    emoticon on keeping with the Paleo diet! And on the weight loss. It really does come down to doing what works best for you. emoticon emoticon
    1840 days ago
    Good for you, we should always remember to "take the plunge" in life. Thanks for the reminder. emoticon
    1841 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Loved that story! That teacher had wonderful insight!
    You do never give up!
    You rock! Keep up the rgeat work!!
    1841 days ago
    She saw something in you and was a great encourager and congrats on jumping off the high board!
    1841 days ago
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