A GAC Swim

When I visit a family in their home, we sit together and look through a big book of pictures from camp. Arriving at the picture of our big, beautiful Sly Lake, I normally make the joke, “As long as you have on your life-vest (which is required, by the way), the only thing you really have to worry about is the shark.”

Sure, it’s corny but more often than not I get some huge eyes and a ‘REALLY?!?’ from the camper. “No, I’m just teasing,” I tell them. “There is no shark in our lake. (The monster squid however….)”

We laugh a bit about it and keep on going.

But, in reading a book by Mark Batterson lately, I’ve learned the story about one person who really did swim with the sharks.

Gratitude, Attitude, Courage… and Sharks

Diana Nyad wanted to see Cuba when she was 9 years old. Looking out from the beach in Fort Lauderdale, her mother pointed her in the right direction and said, “It’s there. You can’t see it but you could almost swim to it.”

Fifty-five years later, and after several attempts, Diana did just what her mother said – she swam to Cuba. At 64 years old, she had become the first person to swim the 110 miles, shark and box jellyfish filled waters between the US to Cuba… without a shark cage.

But, she didn’t do it alone. And, she did have a message to share. Upon completing the feat, Ms. Nyad had three things to say:

“First, we should never, ever give up. Two is you are never too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”

Here is a person who had just swum over 55 hours straight to cross 110 miles from Florida to Cuba, and she is passing along wisdom and drawing attention to the 30-odd people who helped? Incredible.

Swimming, Laughing, and Learning

At Weequahic, we have a tradition of swimming the lake during our Olympic Session. A flotilla of lifeguards patrol the path and over 100 kids a summer take the plunge during the early morning hours. While there are no sharks (I promise!), it takes a lot of courage to even attempt.

When the campers complete the feat, they are greeted with hot chocolate, warm towels, and high fives. They have swum together with friends, showed a ‘let’s get this done’ attitude, and accomplished something memorable.  All are grateful in the end and thank everyone who helped.

So, take a page from Ms. Nyad. Never give up. You are never too old (or young!) to chase your dreams. And, remember: this thing we are doing here called ‘life?’ It’s a team sport.

Have a great weekend.