10 February 2011

tuck your chin

These were the words of the perfect stranger with whom I soaked in a hot tub. 

Keith, which I later discovered was the name of the torpedo in the lane beside me that Friday morning, had also noticed my strokes. He is lean and long, with deeply set dark eyes and salt and pepper hair that is mostly gone. After a few minutes of small talk following our respective workouts, Keith offered a few words of unsolicited advice.

“With swimming,” he explained, “I find it’s best to work out one kink at a time.”

Paul was out of town last weekend, so this morning was my first opportunity to return to the lap pool in nearly two weeks.  At the tail end of my workout – seemingly out of nowhere – I remembered my brief exchange with the substitute school teacher in the hot tub. Mid stroke, I heeded Keith’s advice: I tucked my chin.  And I proceeded to swim the fastest and smoothest butterfly I’ve swum in 26 years.

Over dishes a few minutes ago, this stranger who was in and out of my life in five minutes, returned to mind. He’s got me thinking and wondering…

What kind of impact could I also make if I had the courage to say something when I see it? And what difference could it make if I just focused on improving one thing at a time instead of everything all at once? And isn’t that what they say so often in Bikram as well: tuck your chin? Maybe there’s something to that.

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