by Jacobina Trump

The red tide lingered on for months this summer (2018). I live close to the beach for a reason. I love the beach. I could walk for hours and hours and stare out over the sea, dreaming about what lies just behind the horizon. I used to jump onto my Dutch bike every day and cycle to the beach and catch some sun for an hour or so and swim in the crystal clear lukewarm waters of the Gulf.

With the red tide persistently bringing more dead fish ashore I needed to find something else to do. I hate swimming in pools, specifically chlorinated pools. Englewood recently opened a saltwater pool for professional swimmers. I felt forced to go there and take a look and since the experience was all new to me I decided to take the opportunity to learn the crawl stroke. For some reason I never learned to swim that way although I was used to long distance swimming with my father. The breaststroke caused me to grasp for air within seconds and to practice this with no land in sight never seemed a good idea. Now I had an Olympic pool to try this new stroke out!

While I was learning something new I watched schoolchildren doing backflips from the high diving board. This is something else I had never learnt. The coach was sitting on a chair close to the edge. A young boy got himself into position with his back to me, perfectly aligned with the diving board and the water. I could feel his fear. He stood there for quite some time. No matter how many coaches and good advice and no matter how often you look at others doing the backflip, once you decide you are going to do this – you are on your own.

Alone and scared. Nobody can do this for you. It is exactly at this moment in time that your inner strength, your courage and your willpower make all the difference. One boy did a double backflip, landing perfectly in the water, his hands straight in front of him cutting the water, not making a splash. I am pretty sure he has done this before. It looked easy and simple. Just do it. The second boy was not so confident and although his body stood erect on the board, his feet parallel, he didn’t manage to create enough momentum to do the same and landed painfully on his back. Maybe he hesitated too long, maybe he was unsure of his technique or maybe he just didn’t have enough energy to create the speed needed to make the perfect landing. The coach talked to him afterwards and I saw him climb up the diving board again.

This is how you learn. Although I hate to say it, it is probably the only way. Do it wrong, mess it up, make a painful mistake, but keep going! This is exactly why you need a coach. You need someone to tell you that it’s no big deal that you messed up. You  survived, the ceiling didn’t fall on top of you, and what’s more, you now know how it feels to do it the wrong way. Do it again – now! It really doesn’t matter if you are practicing the backflip or a sales pitch. It doesn’t matter what other people think of your efforts. You did it, it is your experience and you came through! That’s all there is to it. All those people, sitting at home watching tv will never know how it feels to do a back flip or take on challenges.

Jacobina Trump, just a thought.