Germany or Utah?

Yesterday afternoon, I shared the pool with my local YMCA’s beginning- and intermediate-level swim teams. This wasn’t typical; usually when I swim, all six lanes are reserved for lap swimmers. Yesterday, though, I swam in the lane adjacent to the team. I was sitting at the edge of the pool, pulling on my swim cap, when a late team member walked behind me and approached the coach, who was also standing at the pool's edge. The coach and the team members, who were already in the water, looked happy to see this boy. “Hey, how was your trip?” the coach asked with a smile. “Where did you go? Germany?” a teammate shouted from the water. “No, Utah,” the boy responded. “Same difference!” the teammate in the water said. “No, my friend. It’s not,” the coach said. I felt a smile grow on my face as I adjusted my goggles and silently chastised myself for eavesdropping. I slid into the water as the coach explained the first workout. I didn’t catch what she said they would do, but some of the kids were clearly excited about it. “I’m first!” one said. “Ah, I’m second!” another quickly added. A powerful pause passed before the late team member, still standing on the pool’s edge, spoke. “I’d better go last,” he said, dourly. “I just ate a whole pizza and I’ll probably puke.” Then he slid into the water – in the lane right. next. to. me. I swam with trepidation.

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