Last weekend I had the rare opportunity to see dozens of dolphins swimming, leaping, spinning and playing in the ocean. They were Atlantic bottlenose dolphins gathered at the mouth of the Ogeechee River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean near Savannah, GA.
What’s our hurry? Dolphins are particularly interesting to us as swimmers because like humans, dolphins are also mammals and must breath air regularly…they don’t have gills. This means that they need to surface often. Granted they can hold their breath for a long time, but they always need to return to air even momentarily. Babies are assisted to air by their mother or an aunt if mom is out feeding somewhere. Thus they often surface in pairs.
However this was different. The dolphins surfaced in groups of three, four and five. And there were several groups of them. They didn’t seem to care that we were nearby, and they also seemed to enjoy circling and swimming under the boat.
My entire extended family was gathered on that day to recognize the lives of my grandparents who lived in Savannah for many years. We co-mingled their ashes as my aunts & uncles poured them into the ocean and we watched them drift away…the two of them finally together again after fourteen years apart.
The captain gave a thoughtful speech about water & ocean and how central it is to all of our lives…water being a part of us all.
I thought about what a rush we all seem to be in as athletes, swimmers, triathletes, competitors, and how impatient we always seem to be waiting for improvement to happy, rushing the process of discovery, taking shortcuts to speed…and simply wondered, what’s our hurry?
All too soon the days and months and years will pass by. Our children will grown, our friends will change and move on, our parents will age. New pets will come into the family and old loved ones will be remembered.
I felt compelled to keep my athletic and coaching ambitions in perspective. I want to swim faster and I want my athletes to swim faster as well, but even more importantly I want them to experience and enjoy the life they are living now, no matter their swim ability.
Slow down…enjoy the pace…speed will find you, so enjoy the ride.