Once or twice a week, my son swims at night. It is a 630pm class and lasts about 75 minutes,taking him to 745pm. Yet, he is never done with practice before 8pm.
I always wondered about athletes who practice their sports in the wee hours of the morning or at night. Soccer players playing under the floodlights, crew teams rowing in the chilled darkness before sunrise, golfers teeing off at 6am, or my own son swimming at twilight.
He has never complained about swimming that late. I personally prefer a Bikram yoga class at 7pm than at 9 am. My endorphin levels are heightened at that time. While others watch prime TV or have their dinner on time, my son dones his goggles, throws his flippers by the pool aisle and jumps in.
Sometimes, his team mates also choose this godly hour to train and the vibe is vigorous. I sit on the bleachers under the strong spotlights and watch them splash back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, non stop, incessant, in the semi-darkness. The coach will scream a remark, an instruction and all I can hear is splash, splash. An ideal time for reading or blogging.
Sometimes, my son is the sole willing swimmer of that time slot. He has probably not finished his homework but I will make way for a later bedtime or an earlier wake up the next morning. Swimming is better than sleep!
The empty lanes do not intimidate him. He, the ever boisterous, the one who thrives on team spirit, can appreciates that in this opportunity, he has his coach's full attention. Sometimes I get in myself and we swim it out under the auspices of the coach but I frequently forget my suit and the boy goes in solo. The water is still, shimmering and inviting.
He swims against himself, trying very hard to beat his own record in multiple sprints. He gets frustrated, hopeful, tired, invigorated all in a matter of minutes. Split seconds become vital and important. Last night he tried to break the 50 second plateau for 50 meters but he ended with a satisfactory 50 seconds 12. His coach paces the pool with the chronometer and I am not far off, cheering him on, giving him the hints that I have retained from my own swimming days. "Don't breathe in your last strokes and always always always remember to kick, kick, kick!"
The evening prayers resonate from the minarets and the boy keeps swimming. Swimming at night is magical. The lyrics of "Gardening at night" by REM certainly inspired the title.