Michael Pelfini wrote -
My pop was fond of telling the story of my first swim lesson to whoever would listen. Apparently I’d been bugging my folks to learn to swim as a wee lad, so they signed me up for lessons with Mrs. Vasa at the local Seminary Swim Club. On the morning of the first day, my dad found me sitting on the toilet elbows on knees, head in hands moaning to myself, “Me and my big mouth!” See, in that moment I was recalling the terror I’d felt during a family vacation the summer before, dad holding me in his arms while crossing a waist-deep creek of rushing water. And no one could convince me that I hadn’t made a terrible, awful mistake in asking for swim lessons. Oh, the fear! I survived that first lesson, and several more after. Mrs. Vasa turned out to be a tough cookie with a kind heart ~ just what I’d needed! Though I never swam competitively, I’d learned enough to be able to swim in the deep-end of the pool, on the other side of the rope. As it turned out, it wasn’t nearly so bad as I’d thought it would be while perched on my thinking seat that first morning.
I feel a kinship with anyone who’s known this kind of fear, particularly if they don’t yet perceive any resources to get them to that magic point when it loosens its grip; or if, by life’s circumstances, they haven’t yet developed a pattern from which to draw of successfully managing through those dark moments. For youth who find themselves in these kinds of tough moments, ReachOut USA is there with tools, information, and the kind of human connection that matters so much.
I don’t know what it will be like when I jump into the Bay at Angel Island on September 20th along with 900 or so other swimmers. I do know that I’ll make it to Tiburon, though, thanks to Mrs. Vasa, and a little faith! Thank you for your support of this effort ~ any amount will help the good folks at ReachOut USA to do their great work!