I did not start doing sports until the fourth grade. Before then, I liked playing with Barbie and after school I would come home, do my homework, and then sew doll outfits and pillows and curtains for my Barbie Dream House. But my mother noticed that I wasn't interacting with the other girls at my school and she encouraged me to start playing basketball. I remember with the vividness only awkward childhood memories can bestow, my first basketball practice. I didn't know how to dribble, shoot or guard. I didn't know any of the other girls. And I wasn't sure how to pronounce my coach's name. But knocked kneed and nonetheless, I hit the court with prepubescent gusto.
When Laura Fromdahl asked me to meet her at the Island Rec Center so she could analyze my swim stroke, I mentally reverted back to my first b-ball practice, but this time I was more nervous—and not because Fromdahl is intimidating. It was because I had forgotten what it was like to be a novice. As wives and moms, we have to be more or less omnipotent. As professionals, we have to know our trade and sell ourselves. As 30+ year olds, we have to have had some life experiences and thus opinions, preconceived notions and a rightfully owned voice.
And yet, I found myself suddenly in uncharted waters—literally. I knew nothing.
Before now, I had never really swam a lap. To do the swim analysis, I had to borrow my kids' goggles and find a one piece that I think was a maternity suit from when I had Ruth Love (who is now 8 years old). And, to boot, I had never actually put on a swim cap. So, as I walked up to Fromdahl and she graciously asked me how I was doing, I blurted, "I don't know how to put on a swim cap!" Fromdahl smiled, grabbed a bright green cap and proceeded to give me the needed funny story for me to simply breathe and embrace the awkwardness. After two tries, I conquered my curls and got the cap on and I then found myself entering a swim lane and exiting my comfort zone.
The water was surprisingly cool and beside me was a woman who Laura was also training. Her name was Barbara and, whether it was her easy-going demeanor or the fact that she was also training for Naples, I instantly felt connected to her and everything seemed more attainable as I began doing my laps.
By the end of the workout, in addition to learning about an effective swim stroke and how to be more hydro-dynamic, I left the pool with a child's heart. Once again I wasn't afraid to try new things, or failure, or even success. I was just open to possibility.