I taught Carol and Cindy to dog-paddle in the shallow end of the pool while the other freshman girls practiced their backstroke, compared bodies, and—catty as always—ignored their awkward classmates.
I lined up teams at the starting blocks for a relay race. Expecting moans and eye rolls, I announced that Carol and Cindy would swim first across the shallow end: “Lanes 1-3-5, start when Carol reaches the other side, lanes 2-4-6 when Cindy gets there.”
I blew the starting whistle. As my dog-paddlers floundered along, I heard, “Go, Cindy! C’mon, Carol! Keep swimmin’!”
Gotta love ninth graders.