Thursday, September 10, 2009


There is something SO nostalgic about having a locker again. An orange, chipping paint, one missing hook, rusty bottom, combination locker. And just in front of it is a wooden bench, in need of refinishing, that has likely held up many a swimsuit-water bottle-towel-tennis shoe.

Of course now I have the locker combo in my Blackberry address book lest my overloaded mind should fail me.

There's something kind of cool and on-the-sly about walking along the Drillfield, with school books and computer in tow, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to indicate I am about to do something ATHLETIC. Then a quick detour to the right, down a set of stairs, past the check-in desk for a towel and a trade of my Hokie Passport for a rubbery wristband that says they know I am in the pool. Change into my swimsuit, grab goggles, cap, iPod, training instructions, and water, and off I go.

That old pool. How long has it been around?

Everybody gets down to business, it's like the library of the sports world. Quiet, individual, no one speaking, nothing to hear. Lots of thinking going on. I think about my stroke, lap count, work, music I am listening to, the kids, spring triathlons, and the occasional, "now why am I doing this?"

On rest breaks I see the banner showing the yearly Hokie swim team rankings in the NCAA. Mostly they are in the thirty-somethings. Are they proud of that or embarrassed?

I finish my swim, and head back to locker 1503 where my towel and shower accouterments await me, jammed in to a space that was not designed for today's laptop storage needs.

I close the door, with the swimsuit locked to the outside for drying purposes, throw the towel in the laundry, reclaim my Hokie Passport, and rejoin the march of Hokies around the Drillfield. Round and round we go!