Around the Corner: Local swimming hole

Earlier this week I was able to take a few laps at the new Rifle Metro Pool. After months of covering the project, it was quite refreshing to enjoy the facility and not have to worry about working.

The nice cool water, the splashing of children, the diving board and the water slide brought a lifetime of memories flooding back, as I remembered the city pool and swimming holes I used to frequent in my youth.

Growing up, we lived so far out in the country it was a rarity to get to go to the city pool as a child. When we did go, boy, did we have fun.

One thing I remember about the pool in my hometown is it was always packed. The screams of joy and exuberance filled the air as children scurried around the pool splashing one another.

For many the pool is like it is depicted in many Hollywood movies — it’s where you met your friends, where you had your first crush. For me it was where I learned to be fearless.

I still remember my first few swimming lessons, the fear of diving off the diving board and the mad rush to swim toward safety. Once I learned how to swim there was nothing stopping me from trying or recreating what my brothers or the bigger kids were doing.

I was a little bit of a daredevil at times.

Because we lived so far from town, sometimes we didn’t have someone to give us a ride to the pool. Usually me, my brothers and our friends who lived close by would improvise and find the closest irrigation canal or reservoir and jump in. Wherever there was water we would try to swim in it.

On occasion we would get to the city pool or one of the hot springs pools near my hometown. 

I was lucky and made it through my youth and my early adult years fairly unscathed, a few battle wounds and scars over the years.

My luck ran out not too long after I turned 30. My nieces and nephew wanted me to do something fun off the slide during a family reunion. I chose to slide headfirst and go as fast as possible, little did I know it was way too shallow below the slide. 

After hitting the bottom of the pool I slowly surfaced, and I guess it was a site to see. All I remember are a few screams and a lot of stunned faces, before I was told to get out of the pool in a hurry. That is when the blood began running down my face and began pooling in the water in front of me.

After a quick trip to the hospital, and the most stitches and X-rays I’ve ever had, my days as a swimming pool daredevil were over. Now I’ll just enjoy watching the younger generation do flips off the diving board as I soak up the sun.

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