Into the Deep End. 

You know when they say you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their room or desk? Well I’ve realized that diving is the true unveilor of a persons character.

It seemed a lifetime ago when I lived in Calgary.  I used to take the C- Train. Study at empty food courts late at night. This is when I first taught myself how to read tabs off of Ultimate Guitar.  I even used to lifeguard at the Talisman Center.

Nearly 15 years later and I’ve finally returned. The city is different. The air is different. I’m different.

The Talisman Center is now call Repsol Sport Center. To me, the pool smell brings back a flood memories and ignites a familiar nostalgic feeling.

I think this is where and when I really started to become the human I am now.

This place brings me back to a time when I first knew what I wanted in life, who I wanted to be and began making decisions that made me happy.

When my friend and colleague, Ian said one time, “you know you have a really beautiful smile,” this became the place where I learned to smile.. with my teeth. This is where I learned to laugh whole heartedly with reckless abandon.

I am back now and though I am in what seems like a different life, I remember the good things this pool and the relationships I forged, taught me.

To be bold.

To be brave.

To see my own beauty.

To know what I wanted and deserved and

To do things often, that scared me.

And so I started diving.

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When I used to work here I used to love watching the competive swimmers swim, the Men’s Canadian Water Polo train and most of all the divers dive.

I often admired the passion my friend Gerrick put into teaching and it made me want to someday try the adult Masters Dive Class – someday.

Nearly a decade and a half later, I have finally returned, and for the sole purpose of diving.

When you’re standing at the end of that board no one but yourself can make that decision to leap off into the deep end. Just like life. The choices we make are our own, even if we have people cheering us on from the sidelines, ultimately it’s our decision to step up to the plate and dive in.

I think back to all those times when I was afraid to say or do something and if I didn’t end up following through I would develop a debilitating fear of it afterwards.

Diving isn’t just a fun pastime or excuse for adults to try make friends and socialize. It’s an opportunity to challenge myself every week and a mechanism that stirs up these amazing realizations about who I am as I person and what I am able to accomplish.

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Diving is one of the true unveilers of a persons character. When I see people dive you can tell which ones face life with determination, which ones quit, which ones exhibit fear and yet are able to conquer them.  Here are a few examples.

There are those that refuse to try and walk back down the stairs, never to return. You see these people in life – the quitters.

There are those that walk back down the stairs and a few years later after some life experience and maturation take the jump – these are the late bloomers.

There are those that are born naturals and just do everything perfectly – these are the gifted.

There are those that take direction from the coach and attempt the dive but don’t quite execute it well and yet they return – these are the ones to looks for. The ones that try again.

In my class I can see the qualities in my peers in their dives. It’s great because I am learning about my friends’ emotional needs by watching how they dive.

There’s one that performs certain dives well, is super positive and just loves being challenged. Yet when faced with dives they don’t do well at, they are negative and tend to avoid practicing them. When they do poorly on a dive they tend to avoid the coaches feedback and physically demonstrates this while swimming in the opposite direction, all the while avoiding eye contact.

When talking to them about their personal lives you can see their mercurial pattern of loving things they are passionate about and being really affected by things they are not, especially when they do not receive praise for their efforts. You can tell that verbal validation from the coach is directly related to their performance and lack of positive feedback results in poor attitude. I’ve learned that with this peer I need to praise them often and acknowledge their accomplishments.

Then I have another peer that amazes me every time with their tenacity. A lot of these dives are things most of us have never done in our lives, back flips, high dives, front flips and this individual just says “okay here I go!” Even when not successful at an attempt they just ask for feedback and try again.  This one tries to find what their weaker skills are and takes the time to improve in those areas. It’s not wonder that they are one of the heads of their company and industry.

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Basically, we are all afraid of things at least once in our lives. We all approach things differently and we probably all wish we were better and braver at things. The first step, is acknowledging to yourself what kind of person you are. Do you quit often? Do you get mad often? Are you timid? Do you shy from things you suck at? Do you brag? Do you complain?

Are you not sure ?

Well I suggest maybe you try take a diving class. I guarantee you will learn a lot about yourself in just one dive. As for me? Come out and watch and maybe you’ll be able to read what kind of person I am by how I dive.

Registration for January 2017 is now open with Rocky Mountain Diving.

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