I guess this could be considered a virginity of sorts, right? Like when you lose your alcohol virginity, concert virginity, actual virginity...
Except those ones don't involve learning. The first time you do them, you can do it, right? Fair enough you might not know how to handle your drink the first few times, after 2 or 3 concerts, you realise that getting your footwear right is essential and, as for the latter, practice makes perfect, right? Right.
So, with this achievement, I had tried it many times. But I hadn't mastered it, for I had no master to teach me. To be honest, I wouldn't call myself a master now, but with time, I might just be. And, at the very least, I am now confident in going about it alone.
If you are British-born/raised (like myself) I'm almost certain that you learnt how to do this between the age of 7-11. You would have been taught in groups, like all things school-related (such as learning how to play the most pointless instrument in the world - the recorder). Some would have learned quicker than others. Some would be naturally gifted. Others might just not be particularly interested in it. Or, like me, you might just not have had the opportunity.
But, I digress, I'm proud to say that, at the ripe age of 22, I have finally learnt how to swim. YES!
It's taken me just over three and a half months of lessons but I'm there. I can do it. Front crawl. Breast stroke (I'm better at this when fully submerged in the water). Terrible at back stroke though... But who needs a back stroke, anyway?
I was one of those unfortunate kids who had to change primary school. In my first primary school, pupils traditionally went for swimming classes in year 6 and, in my second, they went in year 3. I changed primary school in year 4. I'm going to let you peer into the window of my childhood for a second...
Just like swimming, football was something that I wasn't able to engage in at my second primary school. Whereas my first primary school had football teams which competed in local leagues, my second had none of that. I played cricket, instead. Cricket. As Summer would approach, I would nag my mother about how I wanted to go for swimming lessons and football schools (at Charlton Football Club - back in their hay day when they were in the premiership). Every Summer, I'd be given an excuse.
Alas, I'm a social footballer as opposed to the one that you'd pick first to be in a match at the local park and I'm the one on the holidays that
The swimming, though, was a bit more understandable. Ever the one to test the limits, at around the age of six I went on a trip to a summer play club to the beach. We were told not to go above waist level into the sea and, well ... I nearly drowned and was saved by a lifeguard. How embarrassing. As I said, my mother's anxieties were somewhat understandable.
I found myself today wishing I'd kept a weekly diary of my swimming chronicles. Like how for the first 2-3 weeks I was at a constant inconvenience due to water going in my ears and remaining for hours. Or my struggles to come up for air during the front crawl. And how it wasn't 'til the last session that I more or less mastered the breast stroke, and found out that I'm best at it when deeply submerged into the water (as mentioned earlier). Oh and how I still can't open my eyes under water unless I have goggles on.
I could go on about my swimming chronicles. But I guess the point I want to get across with this blog is that it's never too late to learn anything. Sure, I'll never be a professional swimmer and if you decide to take up football today, the odds will have you against the wall if you think you're going to become the world player of the year. But don't let that stop you. A willingness to learn followed by action is all that's needed. The imperative being action.
And, as a result of action I, Abraham Adeyemi, at age 22 can now swim. Next time there's that stereotypical joke about black people not being able to swim, I will be able to stick my hand up and go, "No siree, Bob, I'll find your mistaken for I, a black man, can swim!"
And I am glad. *fist pumps*
N.B. I thought I'd leave you all with some custom hashtags that I will now be able to use on Twitter/Instagram:
Comments welcome below as always.
Currently listening to: Tinie Tempah - Wonderman feat. Ellie Goulding