Saturday, July 09, 2011
competitive edge

there is another gear

I hadn't known it before really because as a youngster I was not an athlete. Though not the biggest of couch potatoes -- I have always enjoyed a amble among trees or at a riverside -- fond of a long walk to sit in the park among trees. I was not a sporty, active, athletic girl and certainly not an athletic competitor. Part of how I enjoy swimming is as a solitary sport that can include other people. In fact, I enjoy the camaraderie of the pool and locker room. But swimming is an intensely personal, individual accomplishment.
Hmmmm - but competition is about other people.
there is an absolute bliss in competing -- I found out this week. I was doing my mild lap -- my repetition of my same strokes and breaths and kicks that gets me down to the wall at the end of a lane. I like riding out and pulling my body out horizontal as elastic as I can and feeling the buoyancy -- and feeling breaths lifting me and gliding -- my entire body feels as if it is smiling -- so that swimming my laps is a contemplative exercise though it is physically challenging. I do love the feeling of strength when my arms move and my legs kick. And I enjoy the rhythmic coursing of breaths.

a man in the lane to the left of me entered the water a hair's breath after me. He wore a very bright blue cap. I swam and he came abreast of my left shoulder -- I think this is what I felt and saw. My body changed gears and started to move more fast -- more efficiently. I surprised myself that I did not slow or stop altogether or simply concede that the younger, better swimmer would reach before me. I reached the wall ahead and he pulled up and looked over at me when he reached. I felt a real thrill. Well it followed that I was a little scared to turn at the wall and start back. Often I have the tiny fear that I have used all of the energy I have and can't recover. But each time I swim I feel that I swim better. I love this about swimming. It is always something that I am proud that I can do.

Posted at 07:30 am by Tourmaline


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Onward only! I can't turn back and I won't turn around.

Celebrating eleven years of swimming!

stroking onward and upward
swimming for the wall 2010

“Centuries later historians would ridicule as a numbers game attempts to count the millions forced to suffer the trauma of the transatlantic passage. Yet for those who witnessed the murderous raids by Arabs, Europeans, or hostile black Africans upon their communities, for those who were discarded on their march to the African coast, for those who were banned to the hold of the ships, for those whose bodies were cast overboard, for those who made it to the unknown on the other side of the ocean, every single one mattered. For every single woman, every single man represented the difference between life and death, between the "I am" and chattel, between history and the void, between the voice and silence. For every single one defined the whole.”

from Black Imagination and the Middle Passage by Maria Diedrich, Henry Louis Gates, Carl Pedersen

“As you were speaking this morning of little children, I was looking around and thinking it was most beautiful. But I have had children and yet never owned one, no one ever owned one; and of such there's millions -- who goes to teach them? You have teachers for your children but who will teach the poor slave children?
I want to know what has become of the love I ought to have for my children? I did have love for them, but what has become of it? I cannot tell you. I have had two husbands but I never possessed one of my own. I have had five children and never could take one of them up and say, 'My child' or 'My children,' unless it was when no one could see me.
I believe in Jesus, and I was forty years a slave but I did not know how dear to me was my posterity. I was so beclouded and crushed. But how good and wise is God, for if the slaves knowed what their true condition was, it would be more than the mind could bear. While the race is sold of all their rights -- what is there on God's footstool to bring them up? Has not God given to all his creatures the same rights? How could I travel and live and speak? When I had not got something to bear me up, when I've been robbed of all my affections for husband and children.
My mother said when we were sold, we must ask God to make our masters good, and I asked who He was. She told me, He sit up in the sky. When I was sold, I had a severe, hard master, and I was tied up in the barn and whipped. Oh! Till the blood run down the floor and I asked God, why don't you come and relieve me -- if I was you and you'se tied up so, I'd do it for you.”

Sojourner Truth, 1856

This text of her address was recorded by the acting secretary of the Friends of Human Progress Association of Michigan, Thomas Chandler, and published in the Anti-Slavery Bugle

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