“Care? Care Tuk? Is this you?” I heard a young man’s voice on the other end. “This is Nathan. Remember me? ”
I was sitting on my recliner, trying to make some semblance of things swirling around me when the phone call jolted me back to the present.
“I searched for you and I had a strong memory and I just HAD to check to see if I was remembering it right,: he said.
It was during swim team practice and right in the middle of it, during drills, suddenly you acted like you were drowning. The COACH drowning. You were kicking everyone away, battling (of course, I was doing this on purpose, with a not known to them drill of what to do if one of their fellow team-mates or other swimmer got a cramp/too tired, etc and needed help, what would they do).
You were flailing and pushing everyone away. When it was all over, you looked around at us (about 30 kids, age 7-17) and said sternly: “Who WAS that who came underneath my legs? Who was that?”
I was too scared to ever answer. But you went on to say that whoever that was who must have taken a deep breath, gone to the bottom of the deep end of pool and pushed off, CATAPULTED ME (remember, I’m 5’8″ and well we’ll leave the other alone :0)) up out of the water, to where 2 girls had grabbed the shepherd’s crook pole and life ring to throw to me.
I just called to tell you it was me. And I want to thank you for putting up with me – I know I was a hand-full when I was that age (he was probably 9 or 10 – and yes, he WAS a hand-full! But how do you NOT love a stinker with a sparkle of mischievousness in his eyes?!)
I loved coaching. It is one of the highlights of my life. It was a ‘tweener’ job, taken after I was rehabbing after the car accident, and couldn’t go back to being an occupational therapist yet. It was ‘therapy’ for me – plus because of the kids and the entire pool staff who touched my life during that time taught me more than they may ever never know.
So – remember that. What you do today, some 25 years later you may hear your name being questioned at the end of a telephone, cell phone, computer, Ipad or who knows what by that time!
YOU make a difference.
And by the way – thanks for the catapult, Nathan – I was getting tired fending off all you water rats!
He is now 34 and living in MN.
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.