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Just Jump In

The high diving board stood an impossible 10 feet above the pool. All summer I would watch friends line up to climb the ladder, then launch themselves into the air. Some would turn flips, entering the water gracefully with barely a splash. The boys would compete to see who could create the biggest splash. Cannon balls and jackknife dives were the tools they used as they attempted to empty the pool of its water each summer day.

All summer, I would watch from the safety of the shallow end of the pool. “It looks like so much fun,” I would think to myself, as I imagined the amazing flips and twists I would execute from that board. In my daydreams, I would break the surface of the water to the sounds of amazed applause. “How did you do that?” My friends would surround me and beg me to teach them my tricks.

Daydreams explode like the soap bubbles of our childhood without action behind them. Everyday as I gingerly sat on the blistering vinyl car seat leaving the pool, my soap bubble dreams popped.

Finally, I had enough of my daydreams. It was time for action. I was going to jump off of that board.

As I stood in the line, my confidence began to fade, as the doubts and fears tried to take over again. I watched friend after friend make the climb, dash to the end of the board, and fly into the air, landing with a happy splash. Then it was my turn.

Hand over hand, I climbed the ladder. Standing on the board so far above the pool deck, I could barely breath.

“Come on! Just jump in!”

My friends were becoming impatient for their turns as I stood there, frozen.

I inched my way to the end of the board until my toes were hanging off the edge. I looked down one last time, into the deep blue of the pool. I closed my eyes, and stepped off.

11 thoughts on “Just Jump In

  1. Ah, love childhood moments like this–the kind that sticks to you because they were terrifying and emboldening and transformational and thrilling! It flashes me back to my first time stepping off a diving board as well. I grew up in the city and did not have access to a pool very often. One summer we did, and I can vividly recall staring at the three diving boards–one taller than the next–and what a swallow of fear it was to walk up that ladder…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done! If this is your first slice, you hit a hime run. I worked as a lifeguard at an indoor pool for years. It was Olympic sized and had a high & low board and three diving platforms. I could dive/jump off the lifeguard chair and low board, bit all the others gave me the willies.

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  3. Awesome post! Keep posting! Love the quiet ending. I’m going to use this as a mentor text in my classes this fall. Kids have so much trouble sometimes knowing how to end a story. This was perfect… without the expected splashing, etc. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome! I also thought of Jabari Jumps–it’s a really cute book, you’ll surely relate to it. Diving off the big board is such a quintessential part of childhood. And it’s such a good metaphor for so many things. There are so many times you just have to gulp down your fears and jump in! Like blogging. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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