age 3-6: learn to swim
age 7-12: swim for a local summer team and decide to do year round swimming
age 13-18: start sacrificing â€œnormalâ€ social experiences in favor of swim meets, while your identity at school becomes simply â€œswimmerâ€. (which for high school is better than anorexic, or idiot, but on par with nerd and just below slacker and basketball player)
college: continue spending most of your time swimming, and pass up on opportunities to expand your horizons in other extracurricular activities. After all, by this time all you really care about is whether you make NCAAâ€™s or break that pesky varsity record thatâ€™s been looming over you from the record board during the past four years of practice. And dispersing your focus â€“ even briefly â€“ would ruin your chances.
Graduation: You have a bachelors degree and a chiseled swimmers build â€“ huge shoulders, skinny hips â€“ you make suit manufacturers look good. The downside? You never want to see a swimming pool again.
Mid 20â€™s: You decided to explore your other interests. Art, pop culture, acting, drinking, sex, drugs, smoking, a desk job, etc. â€“ something non-chlorinated and less hard. Those graduation suits are getting tighter in the waist and looser in the shoulders, and the square shoulders in your sport coats now look ridiculous.
Late 20â€™s or early 30â€™s: The comeback. You realize that you hate being 40lbs overweight, miss the endorphins and the early morning social calendar. You join a masters program and lose some weight. The metal burnout is over, and you miss the sport. Besides, swimmers canâ€™t do land sports competitively and you miss being good at something.
Hereâ€™s a comeback story I just read that cracks me up (and validates the title of this post). The author kept his name anonymous in the post, but you may recognize his style. The moral of the story? Drink a lot of water when your fantasies come calling.