Monday, 11 January 2010

Small strokes, big steps and Bondi.

As a kid I grew up in a seaside suburb, but I never really spent a lot of time at the beach. Sure there'd be days we'd head down for a swim, but not as a regular thing. I was more inactive, a little overweight, and more introverted really. I could swim, but I never competed save for the yearly school swimming carnival and now and again the next level if I freaked a good lap time there. Training? Did people really do that? I certainly didn't feel at home at the beach or wherever there were swim squads or other sporting pursuits.

So today is a life far removed from my childhood. Above and below are photos of Bondi beach today (somewhat modified as you can see) after the ocean swim that was today's competition. I started swimming in senior high school when I realised I was a bit overweight and needed to do something about it. Training on my own I started cycling to school (it wasn't all that close to home) and then after school to the 25m pool which had me gasping at the end of each lap. It gradually grew from there, still without any formal training, occasionally with friends but no real physical challenge. Then in preparation for the gay games in 2002 in Sydney I agreed with a friend to train for it - actually go the whole hog, squads, gym, the works. He didn't continue but I kept on and ultimately competed successfully (it was a lot of fun but some seriously hard work too). I had broken my own self created mould. I'd become a competitive athlete. With time my love for things aquatic continues to grow, I live by the water, swim daily whether it be in the waves with crowds, on my own with the sharks, in the pool with fellow trainers or with with 7 month old Amélie who just this weekend got to try on her new goggles (and loved them). And on days like today compete with people who used to be completely foreign to me. I'm still that other guy too, but I do more things now and I love it.

Life is a series of small steps. Sometimes though we need to take bigger steps and see where we land. The start of the year is a great chance to take some new steps, then see where we are come December.


Ian Manchester said...

Thanks for the pic of Bondi I achieved a lifetime ambition I went to Bondi Beach on Xmas day because as a child I was told that all Australians went there on the 25th December, where...ever they lived! Shame the weather wasn't as good as it could have been this xmas, but oh well at least it was summer and there was lots of daylight. Now back in snowy U.K. brrr. Can u do a post on the New Year fireworks, I saw them from the Opera House and they were awesome, everyone should see them once in their lifetime!


SuperchilledTrevor said...

In Australia we know that everyone from the UK goes to Bondi Beach for Christmas. :-) I personally went to Byron Bay and was very lucky with the weather (we avoided the coldness & rain).
I also didn't go to the fireworks for New Years Eve, so don't have any photos to load up, but do agree that it is one of the things you need to do before you die... You may have been right beside my cousin who watched them from the Opera House also - he was also seeing the performance inside between the fireworks. My most memorable experience of it was onboard a boat right in front of the harbour bridge and Kirribilli house (it was an official boat) so it was the complete 3D experience, fireworks everywhere!

Thanks for visiting Superchilled, Ian.

Martin said...

It's amazing how many of us have been through something similar, being fat or thin or an ugly youth, and how that stays with you. It's good to see someone take that away with them and turn it into a positive... Thanks for sharing, loved the post - and look forward to many more similar...