Why are swimming teachers so bad?
I hated swimming lessons when I was a child. I hated the locker rooms, ripe with humidity and the smell of chlorine. I hated the immodesty of forced nudity. I hated the cold water. Most of all, I suppose, I hated the fact that I failed and was made to repeat Intermediate Swimming three (!!!) times at the local high school swimming pool before categorically telling my parents that I had had enough, and quit. By quitting I was not rejecting the swimming program. The swimming program demonstrably rejected me. And, to this day I still hate the humidity and smell of chlorine in pool changing rooms which, seeing as I work at the YMCA I am still exposed to even though I do not use them.
As a result, I rarely swim as an adult. I tell people that I don’t swim, which they often take as meaning that I cannot swim. Of course I can swim. I can swim fairly well. I just do not do it is all. I have found that if I try explaining that difference to people they often take it as belligerence. So silence on the matter is the better policy, which caters to my preference for being underestimated.
I swim in Canada’s Lake Huron and Georgian Bay during summer vacations there. I swim in the Pacific Ocean with my family during summer vacations in Japan, and even in beachside hotel swimming pools. So what is it with me and swimming? Sometimes I do, but mostly I don’t. I blame swimming teachers - the ones I suffered as a child: those loud, whistle-blowing women, wearing form-fitting Speedo swim suits and staying dry outside the water on the deck, telling me what to do and then to do it again, seeing my body exposed. I remember one male teacher who, during the Artificial Respiration part of our swimming test noticed that there were exactly nine boys and nine girls in the class, so he paired us up by gender for AR, reasoning that in a real emergency we could not chose victims, so what the hell. I hated that.
For the most part our private lives are akin to circus freak shows. Occasionally these freak shows are exposed to public view - during periods of exposure like at the pool, the doctor’s examining room, the bordello, the tanning salon and tattoo parlor, the execution chamber, or during periods of crisis like funerals, hospitalizations, etc. I rue any loss of privacy.
This August, my 8-year-old sun declared that he did not want to go to daily swimming lessons offered in the summer time at his school. In part it is a shame, because the weather is so awfully hot and humid in the Japanese summer that the chance to swim is wonderful. But also in part I support him wholeheartedly.
The reason is that Ken took a dislike to his (male) teacher one day after the teacher threw buckets of water on the children to get them wet. “Ijimeko,” Ken said. He was a bully. I wasn’t there so I don’t know what was up, but based on Ken’s description of events and my experience of swimming instructors, I quite agreed with him and went even further to consider the man’s behavior not only reprehensible, but downright criminal! In fact, those adjectives pretty well sum up my experience of all swimming teachers. Swimming teachers are reprehensible and downright criminal!