Gary: Let’s venture to a subject matter beyond the narrow focus of swim news sites. Something that extends beyond our comprehension or capabilities to address it.
David: You want to discuss the boy band phenomenon?
Gary: I’m talking about the meaning of life and the existence of God.
Gary: Do you believe in God?
David: You know, Gary, growing up in Montana, most of us stayed away from the religion-and-politics-conversations-with-strangers thing and tried to get along. I miss those days. That said, I think you need to get something off your chest my man, and as our readers know, you have a tendency to bottle things up. So just let it out. Whattya wanna share?
Gary: Well, I don’t think of God as a bearded man in the clouds. Or bearded woman. What some refer to as God I think of as a type of cosmic order that is responsible for life as we perceive it. The thing that makes blood pump through our veins and keeps planets from spiraling into each other. I believe that is “God.”
David: Does this cosmic order swim?
David: Okay. Anything else you want to address in today’s column?
Gary: The meaning of love. Do you believe in love?
David: I love swimming.
Gary: What enlightened person doesn’t?
David: That’s a good question. Perhaps a witch doctor in the Sahara is backstroking down a sand dune as we speak?
(pausing to reflect on his own profoundness) …so yeah, I guess I’d say yes, there is such a person, but only because she lives in a land without water.
Gary: Love is the most important thing in life. Life is made up of positive and negative ions, yin and yang, good and evil, love and hate. Love is the positive ion, the yang that is the fuel cell of divine order. God. God is love, Dave. Love is the meaning of life.David: Cool! Well, we got that one settled. What else do we have on our checklist of things to cover today?Gary: Meaning of life? Check. God? Check. Love? Check. Anything else you want to clear up?
David (embracing the mundane): What is the meaning of the Golden Goggle Awards?
Gary: The USA Swimming circle jerk? The Michael Phelps spank-o-rama? A warm, sweet tasting send-off tribute to the greatest swimmer? I love it.
David: Man, I hope that doesn’t get edited. Anyway, I know you’re presenting, any predictions?
Gary: Michael Phelps will sweep all categories including “best looking” and the coveted USA Swimming “guy who has made us the most money” award.
A deserving Missy Franklin will win the consolation award as “bright young rising female swimmer,” the only title MP won’t take home with him.
David: Not funny.
Gary: The fact that we’re explaining the meaning of life in a swim column? Decidedly not funny. This is heady stuff, my friend. Now would be a good time to say something enlightening. Go ahead.
(five minutes later) Whenever you’re ready.
David: I’ve gotta couple of decades before I reach Jack Roach’ian levels of enlightenment Gary. In the meantime, I’m actually really excited for everyone going to the Golden Goggles. Yes, that’s right, real, positive, unbridled emotion coming from David Cromwell.
Gary: I think my migraine is coming from David Cromwell too.
David: The problem, my dear poop-for-brains, is that comments like that make people think I’m being sarcastic, and I’m not. The Double G’s sound like fun (I’m jealous you are there without me), and I am so, so impressed that people are paying $25,000 dollars a table to hang out with swimmers. I paid people to hang out with me when I swam.
Gary: That reminds me, you owe me money.
David: Beside the point! Enlightenment Gary, you talked earlier about enlightenment. And, I’m feeling it more and more lately.
David: Swimming, it turns out, is enlightening, and it doesn’t matter if other people know this to be true. But at the same time, nobody wants to get booed during show and tell, so it actually does matter. When you do awesome things and people recognize that, it’s a good thing…wait, oh my God!
Gary: Oh my swimming!
David (looking in Gary’s eyes): Gary, I did it!
Gary: Self-empowering motivational speech for the readers?
Gary and David (simultaneously looking in each other’s eyes): CHECK!
Gary Hall, Jr.
Gary Hall, Jr. has 10 Olympic medals in swimming and represented the United States national team for 15 years. He is currently an active healthcare consultant with a focus on diabetes care providing board support, strategic alliance, marketing and public relations strategy, international sales and distribution services, advocacy, …