I didn't want to look chicken in front of the twelve-year-old boys coming up the platform in front of me, so I jumped. That's the short of it. The long of it starts with my decision to focus on courage for a weekly goal last year which did two things for me (a) inspired me to take risks, live fully and move forward bravely and (b) convinced me that I am right-out yellow.
So fast forward several months and I'm swimming laps at the BYU pool thinking, "before this summer is over, I'm going off that huge platform, yeah, the big one." For those who don't know, this diving platform is roughly 400-miles from the water and only open twice a day, maybe to avoid conflicts with the other diving boards, but probably to decrease liability for wrongful death suits. But then I think, "hey, summer's almost over, why not now?"
Climbing up the platform, I didn't look down, but I kept thinking, "this is taking a long time to get up. This is taking way too long to climb up." I got up and looked over the edge, just, you know, so that I can make sure that the kid who just triple-backflipped off was making it out of the way safely. I got up to the wet spot where, I'm assuming, swimsuits dripped for a few moments before their wearers took the leap.
I'm not saying I took the leap. I took more of the "Well, it's not going to get any less scary standing here" jump and flying squirm.
When I was in fifth grade I was in the swimming lessons where they taught you how to dive. Maybe it was there or maybe it was cliff jumping with my youth conference that I heard that after a big jump, you should open your arms wide once you're in the water--slows your plunge and bouys you up. I may have done that too early, or not at all correctly, because I seem to remember being curled up, almost fetal, my feet grazing the bottom of the pool. Then I swam up with all my bursting lungs.
Once I was up, I confidently swam to the edge of the pool and got out, hoping the red marks where I hit wrong weren't too obvious to the pack of twelve-year-olds or the lifegaurd as I non-chalantly made my way to the lockerroom. Yeah, I could go off again, I hope my saunter told them, but I was headed out anyway.
In the lockerroom, showering, I held my hands up and yes, they were shaking. I'm glad I did it, but you know what? I'm still a coward.