Gordy … The Music Manager … The Music Man

(Gordy and his infamous and very full of cool music ipod)

There was a radio interview this week. It was live and unplugged and it took a whole hour and Doug was definitely nervous beforehand. KWAM 990 out of Memphis. I have video tape of it being played live on my computer, with the house all messy and the boys playing with the dogs.

The interview was pretty serious, for the most part. But something creeped in. Something about all the fun we have working on this project.

Radio Guy: (Practice your deep voice.) And you have a crew? Tell me about your crew.

Doug: Well, my crew is my family. My wife and my kids. I have four kids.

Radio Guy: You have FOUR kids?

Doug: Ya, that’s a lot of kids, but they’re great. And they all have important jobs on my team. Anyway, they count my strokes and that’s important because I need to stay on track. They manage my nutrition because I need to take in 1,000 calories an hour. They mix it and get it to me every 30 minutes. They handle emergencies, like when I was seriously stung by an oversized jellyfish. It was all hands on deck.

Radio Guy: (Kind of disinterested in the jellyfish thing, which really was serious.) What else?

Doug: Gordy manages the music.

Radio Guy: The music?

Doug: Ya, Gordy has the most eclectic collection of music and no one is ever disappointed.

Radio Guy: You swim to music?

Doug: No, I can’t hear it at all. But I see them dancing every once in awhile. I’ve seen Susan singing into a water bottle. I’ve seen Billy dancing on a chair. It’s a little disruptive, but these swims are long, and my crew likes to have a good time.

Radio Guy: (Deep voice getting deeper.) So, it’s a party boat?

Doug: Not when I need them … they’re there. But when I’m on my own they’re on their own and they make the best of it. They know how to have a good time.

Radio Guy: (Laughing from his gut.) I really wish I had become a swimmer. But I didn’t. Can I be on your crew?

Note: As the leader of this crew I’ll tell you this. Sometimes we freeze. Sometimes we get sunburned. Sometimes we argue. And there are plenty of times we dance. We’re making the best of this. Because this, after all, is his time.

25K Swim in Noblesville, Indiana … Not Your Typical Father’s Day Weekend

Not your typical Father’s Day Weekend. Noblesville, Indiana was host to the the US Masters 25K Swimming National Championships and Doug participated with Bill and Gordy as his guides in a double kayak.

You can read all about it on Doug’s blog http://www.alongswim.com. He’ll tell you the important parts but I’ll tell you this …

… He came in 27th out of 66 swimmers. The 26 swimmers who came in before him were in their 30’s. (Note, my bionic boyfriend is 53.) I needed to tell him that this is amazing.

… A double kayak is a hell of a lot of fun for two teenage boys.

… Noblesville, Indiana is just far enough – 4-1/2 hours to make the ride a little boring.

… Gordy got the sunburn of his life and now believes in sunscreen.

Next up … July 23rd … a puny 5K in Chicago. The Chicago Skyline makes for a great backdrop.

The Last Email & The First Email

The last email I sent out before retiring to bed last night was confirming our flight reservations from Chicago to London. Doug, me, all of the kids.

The first email I received this morning was from my brother, Robert, confirming his flight reservations from San Francisco to London. He and his wife, Kathryn.

Me: Are you coming to England for all of this?

Bobby: Sue, you know we wouldn’t miss it for the world. The second you make your reservations I’ll make ours.

He Does More Than Just Swim

Today, I got the day to myself, which doesn’t happen very often. I enjoyed the solitude like a good steak.

Today, Doug and all of the kids went up to Camp Edwards to help open things up for the season. Camp Edwards is the camp he went to as a little kid, the Camp where he was a counselor, and the Camp on whose Board of Directors he now sits. Camp Edwards is on Lake Beulah just over the Wisconsin border, and Lake Beulah is the lake in which he made his first open water swim at the age of nine. If my arithmetic is right, that was 44 years ago, in 1967.

The destination is Buck Island, which is a little over a half mile away (although when repeating the story of my own Buck Island Swim, I preferred to call it a full one mile swim). The Buck Island swim has been a rite of passage for campers for decades; to Doug, it meant that he could start taking sailing lessons.

Each of our kids has gone to Camp Edwards from the time they were eight. They love this Camp. It’s part of their identity. Each has completed the Buck Island Swim, though more than one have announced that they will never do it again. Speaking of rites of passage, each of our kids also belong to Camp’s secret society, called the Tribe of Nani Ba Zhu. In fact, everyone in our family belongs to that secret society except me, because I didn’t have the good fortune of going there when I was little. I am happy for them, but secretly I get a little ticked about that. Perhaps one day they’ll let me in.

Today was a day that they cleaned the canoes, rigged the sailboats, mowed and trimmed the lawn and took it all in. They came home dirty and tired and knowing that summer has begun.

My Bionic Boyfriend has a standing appointment at Camp this year. It will be early every Friday morning to accompany this year’s campers on their own first Buck Island Swim. They don’t know it yet, but each of them will be taking their first stroke on A Long Swim. The first Buck Island swim is scheduled for June 24th. I will go along and take some pictures for you all to see.

And I wonder if, 44 years from now, one of those campers will be someone’s Bionic Boyfriend and will be preparing to swim the English Channel.