Saturday, February 16, 2008

My younger days... the only deaf swimmer on the team

I have been been swimming in the water since I was very young and been on many swim teams over the years all the way up to my 30's. Back in the 60's and 70's when I was on various swim teams, during swim meets, I had one disadvantage that other swimmers had that I didn't was to hear the "starter". They were able to dive off the block before I could react so I was always last in the water. During the 3 year period that I was in my highest peak in swimming by coming in "first" in many events for butterfly and freestyle. I wonder what my "timings" would be if I started at the same time against other swimmers? Would I have been ahead of them like Mark Spitz did in the Olympics?

This is one of those I keep thinking and wondering "what if". LOL Believe me, I have alot of those. Today, swimming pools now have the technologies for the deaf who is able to start at the same time as "hearing" swimmers. I wished I had that when I was younger. I believed my best "time" for 50 meter freestyle was under 26 seconds and that was with "late start from the block". I can't remember my other times like my IMs and Butterflies. If I started at the same time, it would have been 24 or 25 seconds (I think).

Oh speaking of sports and I started attending my local public school (hometown)when I as about 12 years old which I was the only deaf student in the entire class. I played football when I was younger (in early 1970's) during my junior high school days but I gave up because the coaches didn't want me to play because I could not hear. All I asked for is play on the defense which was a no brainer. So, instead, I played soccer and I did well in that sport. In high school, I was the only freshman who made on the varsity soccer team and I was thankful for the coach to give me an opportunity. He was a tough coach and treated me like other players. Whenever I messed up, I get yelled at like he did with my teammates. I will always respected him for that. I considered me "able" regardless of my hearing loss. I wished there were more coaches like him during my younger days.

The deaf youth have it made over the years and didn't experienced as much as I did when I was younger. I am praying that this will continue to change over the years for the better. I am saying this for all disabilities, not just deafness.


Casdok said...

Yes i also hope it continues for all disabilities. We have come along way but still have a long way to go. But at least it is going in the right direction!

Michelle said...

Wouldn't it be great if the world was always fair to all. Hey, good job on your swim times!! Good for you!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'm glad you had that coach in your life. It must have been wonderful to have someone treat you just like everyone else.

Merelyme said...

this is one thing i never learned how to do...swim. i am in great admiration of those who know how to do this well.