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Today in My History

2000: Ned Moves into a Playhouse
2001:  Happy Anniversary to Me
2002:  As The Journal Turns
2003:  Threes
2004:  #1448
The 1815 Overture
2006:  So Many Words, So Much Time

2007: Pulling Out All the Stops 
2008:  Lap Full of Puppies
2009:  It's a Mom Thing
2011:  Simply Thrilling
2012: A Slave of Duty

Bitter Hack
: 3/11
"Midsummer Night's Dream"

Books Read in 2013
 Updated: 3/18
"The Namesake"

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Monterey Weekend

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mail to Walt



20 March 2013

We watched the premiere of the new reality show, Splash tonight.  This time it's not romance or cut-throat competition, or starving on some lonely island...this time it's water.  Pools of water.  And jumping (or diving) into them.

As the web page for the show says, "Splash marks the first time 10 celebrities will train and compete in regulation platform and springboard diving at dizzying heights in front of a weekly poolside audience."

As with some of these shows (like Dancing with the Stars, for example), "stars" may be stretching it for some of the contestants.   Here's the line up of the 10 "stars," starting with the best known"   Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Louie Anderson, Drake Bell, Chuy Bravo, Rory Bushfield, Nicole Eggert, Keisha Knight Pullliam, Ndamukong Suh, Katherine Webb and Kendra Wilkinson.

How'd you do?  How many names do YOU recognize.  I recognized three--Abdul-Jabbar, comedian Louie Anderson, and Keisha Knight Pulliam, last seen as the tiniest of the Cosby Kids, on the Bill Cosby Show.

neddive.jpg (60253 bytes)But we couldn't not watch it because it brought back memories of the long-ago history of this family:  the diving years.

Out kids didn't do "normal" stuff.  While most of their friends were on swim teams, ours were on the diving team.  While most other kids were playing soccer or football or baseball, ours were doing theater and band.   I'm definitely not sorry. I loved going to diving meets and marching band events and especially theater

We kind of fell into diving, literally.  Ned's good friend Matt was on the Davis Diving Team.  Ned must have been 8 or 9.  He would go to the pool with Matt, watch him do his dives and then copy him.  He enjoyed it so much that we investigated his joining the Davis Diving Team, under coach Brett Evans, who told us that he had once been on the Olympic Team.

Brett was a charismatic coach who worked well with all ages of kids and got the best out of them. Ned took to diving like...well, a duck to water. It wasn't long before all five kids were on the team and I was spending most of my afternoons sitting poolside inhaling the chlorine and watching bouncing bodies.

DaveDive.jpg (56339 bytes)I always felt kind of smug, listening to my friends who had spent the whole weekend at swim meets, because their kids would be competing in several events and so had to stay the whole day.

With diving, you drove in age groups.  They told you about what time your group was diving and when your group finished, you could go home.  I loved that.

All the diving parents learned to keep score and to judge diving.   Walt and another judge once collaborated:  "You count the sommersaults and I'll count the twists."  (I didn't say we were good judges!)   I was the team publicist and even managed to get them on the local TV news once.

Brett had one of the best kids' diving groups in the state and we drove all over the place to compete.  Ned once dove against Greg Louganis, right after Greg had won his silver medal.  Ned had won his age group (I believe it was 10 and under) and Greg had won his in this fun meet, and at the end of the event all the winners competed against each other kind of for "best in show."  I know that you'll be surprised and disappointed to hear that Ned did not beat Greg in that event.

louganis.jpg (10685 bytes)

So we had to watch Splash, if only for the laughs.  But it was nice to discover that the coach of the divers competing was none other than a now grey-headed Louganis.  And the show was really kind of poignant.  There was 400+ lb Louie Anderson, who could not climb out of the pool the first time he got into it, standing on the 5 meter board and doing a front dive.  It wasn't beautiful, but what a sense of accomplishment he had when he completed it.

Then there was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whom some would think would be a natural, since he's an athlete (even though he's 65 now!), but I remember when our kids went through growth spurts and their diving suffered because they hadn't yet figured out where their arms and legs ended any more. Abdul-Jabbar's dive was terrible and I'm sure his abdomen stung quite a bit when he got out of the pool, but he got high marks for trying.

There was the beauty queen who wore a bathing suit that looked like it was in danger of popping off if she twisted the wrong way.  Her dive wasn't great, but she challenged herself  (which Pulliam, who was voted off had not) and so passed on to the next week's competition.

I think we will be watching this show from now on.  I want to see what happens as the competition progresses.

As for our own kids and diving, sadly Brett eventually decided that he was too good to teach for a city program and so he went to private lessons only and someone much less talented took over the program.  He felt that Ned had talent and he offered us the opportunity to let Ned study with him, but the price was prohibitive and so we had to say no.

I'm sorry that we couldn't afford to let him continue, but his actions after he went private made me ultimately happy that he wouldn't be influencing Ned.  Ned, who was once one of his rising stars (in his age group, Ned and 2 other boys in Northern California were always top in all the competitions, see sawing between who was first and who was second and third) was totally ignored.  Brett would come to the pool and not even speak to Ned.  It hurt Ned's feelings so much that he quit the program and, to tell you the truth, I can't remember the last time I saw him do any dive at all (though I'm sure he got over the hurt decades ago).


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David and our neighborAnne Bennett


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