Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Here's a story about Barton Springs that I don't think I've ever told before.
It was late August of last year, and my friend Megan and I were languishing in the sun. We had found a patch of vacant grass, not far from the diving board. Teen boys were taking turns doing flips into the water, and every so often, a collective "ooh!" from the crowd rose up, indicating a belly flop. The owner of said flop would rise sheepishly to the top, and after appropriate ragging, the next kid in line would scramble up the ladder, charging the end of the board.
But it was getting late. The board line fell away.
Except for one tiny girl.
She approached the ladder gingerly. She touched the first step with her foot, carefully climbed up, and crept to the very end of the board. She peered over the edge into the turquoise, summer water.
It looked deep. And scary.
So she turned around, walked back to the board's beginning, and silently gathered her courage. Breathed a few counts. She marched out for a second try.
But as she stood there, frozen, someone nearby began to clap.
"Woo! Woohoo! You can do it!"
His friend joined in.
"Yeah girl! You got this! Go for it!"
She looked up, smiled shyly at her supporters. More people began to clap and cheer.
"WOOOHOO!!! Yeah!! JUMP OFF THAT BOARD! You can DO it!!"
Megan and I joined in, as did our neighbors. And their neighbors.
The people clear on the other side of the pool caught on, and the cheers were getting louder.
"YEAH!!!! SHOW THAT BOARD WHO'S BOSS! YOU GOT THIS! IT'S ALL YOURS WOMAN!!!"
In a few moments, every single person at Barton Springs had stopped what they were doing to clap and cheer for this little girl.
She'd take a little exploratory bounce, then stop and hesitate, like kids sometimes do. It happened three or four times, and each time she bounced, the cheering swelled up again. It was like being at a UT football game.
The best ending for this story would be to tell you that she eventually jumped, and we hollered like mad. But you know what? She never did!
And that's ok. Sometimes we're just not ready.
But it's my absolute favorite memory of Barton Springs. Just one of those beautiful Austin moments, when I'm reminded once again how kickass and kind people are here. It's a special thing we've got.
(Post title courtesy of the always-wonderful Austin Kleon).