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The View from the High Dive · 7 December 2007

Recently, one of my brothers took us to the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center (http://www.biparks.org/pool/pool_facility.html) for fun at the pool. While I like to swim and have fun in the water, one of the best things about the pool is the breathtaking view from the high dive.


I will be the first to admit that I do not love the high dive but I do love to dive. Whenever we are over at my brother’s house near Bainbridge, the kids ask if we are going to go swimming. Yes, they want to see their uncle, aunt, and cousins, but they also want to have fun at the pool. Actually, as the name suggests, it is not just a pool but a true aquatic center. There are places for little kids and big kids and people who have admitted to themselves that they are no longer kids. There are lap lanes, a hot tub, a water slide, and there are actually pools, not just a pool. But form me, any trip to the pool must include at least one turn on each diving board.


My wife, the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, thinks that I need to dive because I like to show off. And the thing that is most frustrating about her insights into my soul is that she is usually right. I do like to show off. There is a rope swing at the aquatic center and kids of all ages line up to swing across the water and either grab a second rope or drop into the water. Naturally, the first time I was there, my brother showed me the ropes (pun intended) of how to best enjoy the rope swing. He said that the trick was to grab up as high as possible on the first rope, use the momentum of the swinging to reach up high on the second rope, and then get as high as possible to do some trick at the end of the swing of that second rope. I do not know if he challenged me or if I just needed to show off but I got high enough on the second rope to lift my feet into the air and enter the water head first. Sure, I missed the first time I tried but every time I go to the center, I need to do that trick. Naturally, I had to show off, this time at the aquatic center too.


While the rope swing is fun, I love diving boards. On the regular height diving board, I like to do two different dives. A one and a half flip and a gainer. I like these two dives because I can see the water before I enter. The difference is that I rotate forward on the flip and enter head first and I rotate backward on the gainer and enter feet first. There is not much risk of belly flops or slapped backs on either dive and I have been doing them from the one-meter board (the regular height one) since I was young. It does not really impress the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi or at least she just tsk tsks at me for showing off but I still like to do those two dives whenever I get the chance.


The high dive is another story. Even though it is only three-meters (about 10 feet) above the water, the water is essentially invisible and the bottom of the pool looks a long way away. It is enough to strike fear into many a brave heart. Or at least in mine. Even so, I still like to go up the high dive. This last trip when I was up there, I thought, “I do not really like this. But the fastest way down is to jump.” I saw some other people get to the top and climb back down the ladder. To me, they showed that discretion may be the better part of valor but going backward down a slippery high dive ladder did not seem like the best idea. So I jumped. Now, because of how I learned to dive, I can not just go to the edge of the board and jump. I need to make my approach and get some height. Even though I did not dive into the pool, I did recover a bit after flailing my arms and got into a good enough position to do a can opener, a way we used to try to get the lifeguards wet when we were kids. I got down the fast if not easy way, swam to the edge, and went to see if my wife appreciated my show.


Naturally, she said the opposite of what I expected. “Are you going to end with that?” I recovered from the shock and said that I would watch the kids for a bit more and then make my final dive. And I did. A nice easy one and a half flip from the low board. There was no applause but I was satisfied with my dives and jumps of the day.


I love the diving boards, the rope swing, and all the fun stuff at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center. I love to show off even if it is just to the demanding Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi. And even though I do not love the high dive, I still like the thrill of climbing up the slippery steps and taking the easy way down. Even if I do not so much enjoy the breathtaking view from the high dive.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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