Batmans and Hawkgirls

At the swimming lesson the teacher divided seven students – five girls, two boys – into groups. The groups would set off from the wall at two different times to practice the specific skill the teacher had demonstrated: turning the head, circling the arms, keeping the body in a straight line. With each skill, the students got to suggest categories and the two names that would define the cohorts of swimmers. In the first round, one kid chose “candy,” and the students were divided into “Candy Canes” and “Cotton Candy.” The groups practiced their leg kicks. In the second round, another child nominated “superheroes” as the category, and the groups chosen were“Batmans” and “Hawkgirls.” The teacher assigned the boys to be “Batmans” and the girls to be “Hawkgirls." Watching from the bleachers, I was charmed to hear my niece ask if she could be a Batman. “Of course,” the instructor said.

The following category a child requested was “people.” “What, famous people?” A boy offered a name for one of the groups: “Barack Obama.” A girl proposed the name for the other group: “Hillary Clinton.”  So the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons took turns swimming across the pool. And none of the children gave a thought to Donald Trump. And I felt optimistic about what this election meant for all the young swimmers.

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