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Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Aug 5, 2022

Sometimes I quickly conceive a brilliant idea and quickly make plans to execute that idea and I realize I'm smarter than I give myself credit for. 


Several years ago, I arrived at the neighborhood pool early one morning to swim laps. It was a habit I had gotten into that summer and the week before, my buddy Josh and I had talked about our workouts – how we warm up, how we keep track of laps. Stuff like that. I was going to try some of his ideas and it was early that day, but someone was already in the pool, putting in their work – head down, strong kicks, big  flip turns.

I put my towel in a chair, put my googles and my pennies - which I use to count sets - in a neat little pile at the end of an open lane at the edge of the pool. I started stretching and took a look at the other swimmer. It was Josh. He has an unmistakable balding pattern that was clearly visible in the water as he headed down his lane towards me. “Oh,” I thought, “this is going to fun.”

When Josh made his flip turn, I had backed away so he wouldn’t see me. I kept stretching and by the time he was headed back towards me and got close to the end of the pool, I took four or five running steps and I launched and tucked into the tightest cannonball an unlimber, middle-aged man could tuck in to. My launch was high, my angle was perfect, my timing was perfect, and I rolled slightly backwards to hit the water on the small of my back to make the biggest explosion possible right next to him. I saw a hole in the water form around me. I saw the water rise up on either side of me and then cave in back down on top of me, and I felt that wonderful concussion one feels when the water slams down on you after executing a flawless cannonball.

It must have thrown Josh ten feet in the air. I imagined him air born, mid-stroke, staring wild-eyed through his goggles wondering what in the world had just happened. Who did this? I heard big drops of water still hitting the surface and as I came up and I was gasping for air because I already laughing.

Most events in my world take careful and deliberate planning. But every now and then I have a quick and brilliant idea and I throw together a quick and brilliant plan that works flawlessly and I surprise myself at how well I’ve done. I tell myself that I’m smarter than I give myself credit for. Usually when I rush things, things go wrong.

Josh stood up, looked at me with his mouth wide open, ripped his googles off and…it wasn’t Josh. It was someone I had never met before. Someone I didn’t know.

I just stood there. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t form a word. And I finally just muttered “Oh. Sorry,” and swam away as fast as I could and didn’t stop swimming until he had finished his workout, left the pool and I had seen him drive away. It was awful.

Quick planning did it to me again.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.