SwimSwam contributor Ashley Wozny reminds us about once a month that in the sport of swimming, you’re never too old to learn, with her “Never Too Old to Dream” series about swimming her first competitive swimming race in her 20′s and then diving head-first into the world of swimming.
But she knew how to swim when she decided she would try and learn how to swim better.
Today, the world of football brings us another reminder that no matter your experience in the water, you’re never too old to learn to swim.
CBS Sports posted a story today about one San Diego Chargers rookie, Manti Te’o, teaching another, D.J. Fluker, how to swim.
When the article says “learn how to swim,” they meant “learn how to swim”. Fluker had a traumatic water experience as a child, and has avoided it ever since.
Fluker stands 6’5″ tall and weighs 339 pounds and went to the University of Alabama. Te’o is 6’1″, weighs 241 pounds, and went to Notre Dame. Te’o is from Hawaii, where swimming is a way of life.
Picture Te’o, a behemoth of a man, in a pool, holding Fluker parallel to the surface, and instructing him to “kick”. That’s probably the same way that most of us learned how to swim, and like most of us, Fluker sank the first time Te’o let go.
This story happens time and again, and as hard as it is to convince children that it’s ok that first time they sink, it can be hard to convince adults with a debilitating fear of water to try it again, and low-and-behold, Fluker now knows how to swim.
This is an important reminder to us all about how a man with a world’s worth of money and little in the way of physical option can still be terrified of the water, and the importance of spreading the message of the need to learn to swim. Much of that message is focused on children, where the statistics are so terrifying, but there are adults all around who need the same assistance. Charity is a great thing, and there are an infinite number of opportunities to participate, but what better way than to share a skill that you’ve spent literally years of your life cultivating? That’s where true charitable value comes from, and the impact on those you’ve taught, both in life-saving and in helping them overcome such a terrible fear, is invaluable.
A really cool story, and a really great reminder.