Michael Phelps and why we love to watch him win.
Michael Phelps and Why We Love to Watch Him Win
November 20, 2008 -- 5:49 am
Michael Phelps, competitive swimming, winning, losing and what swimming means to me
Watching Michael Phelps made me remember how swimming has always been a part of my life since growing up in Greenville, KY "Muhlenberg Co.". My mother was my swim coach and my dad was extremely supportive of all my athletic endeavors. I remember driving back and forth 5 days a week to Owensboro, 45 miles one way for swim practice. Now that was true devotion for a parent.
At swim practice the older guys on the team loved to pull pranks, and especially on me because I guess they new I could take it. Remember the old style starting blocks…….well let's just say "they were true blocks". A big rectangle was cut out of the block for the backstroke start, you remember because no swimmer growing up in the 70's forgets that. Wow, how technology has changed!
Anyway, the seniors on the team use to cram me in the starting block, sit on it, and then spray the cold water hose into the backstroke start opening until I FROZE into submission. Oh those were the days, but believe it not great memories as I started my adventure into year around swimming.
The highlight at the end of every swim practice was always the HOT SHOWER afterwards. Oh man, I could stand there forever and even today I do the same. Before the one hour journey home, our first stop was a "squirrel steak" from the Ponderosa. At the time the best I ever had, now, well let's just say I have had better. Then came, the completion of homework by flashlight while driving the winding bumpy roads back to Muhlenberg Co.
Now, fast forward 30 plus years and you have history repeating itself with the most amazing swimming performance of all time. I grew up in the era of Mark Spitz, the nylon stars and stripes suit, the long bushy hair, the mustache, the one swimmer we all looked up to. The 7 gold medals was a phenomenal accomplishment in one Olympic Games only to be surpassed by 8 gold medals by the greatest swimmer of all time Michael Phelps. I vividly recall the 72 Olympics in Munich, so to watch Michael Phelps 36 years later repeating history came full circle for me as a swimmer.
Today the sport of swimming in some ways is still the same as it was 30 years ago. Every young age grouper across America still has a dream to one day become an Olympic swimmer. Every adult fitness swimmer, well….. "the older we get the better we were".
Oh yes the technology has changed with the hi tech competition swimsuits and the low profile goggles, but one thing for sure, the passion for swimming in us all will last the test of time.