I should have known it would involve swimming.
One of my college roommates and fellow swimmer is now the coach of the men’s swim team at Brown University. As luck would have it, his team was in town this weekend for a tri-meet against Penn and Harvard.
I thought it was the perfect excuse to get some of the guys from our college swim team, who live in the Philly area, back together. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in close to 40 years.
A few of us were able to get together last night for some drinks and snacks at the hotel where the Brown swim team was staying. In less than two minutes of greeting each other, we had all given each other the obligatory insult, and were back to acting like college kids for the next several hours.
We started off by catching up on what everyone has been up to for the past four decades, but that only took a total of five minutes, and then we started reminiscing about our glory days and recalling the many acts of stupidity we committed during our time at Stroudsburg. It’s a good thing cell phone cameras weren’t around then, none of us would likely have survived such scrutiny.
Somewhere during the night, the forty years since college vanished, and I felt like I was twenty years old again. I haven’t laughed that much since I had a fart machine in my hand (which also involved some guys from the swim team).
A few times I had to look around and see if we were bothering any of the guests, and I thought of the words from the song “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel:
We ain’t too pretty, we ain’t too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
But that never hurt no one
As you can tell from the picture above, Billy could have been singing about us.
Eventually we had to call it a night, but fortunately, a few of us had also decided to go the swim meet, which was held today.
We got to the meet an hour before it started so we could spend some time talking with “Coach”, since a couple of the guys had not had a chance to see him the night before. One of the guys that came to the meet was a guy I haven’t seen in 38 years, but I recognized him immediately (he had a classic mustache in college, and he still has it.)
We took a break from the meet for a while to go grab some lunch (there were going to be four heats of 1000 free; I love swimming, but I’ve got to set some limits). It was a chance to do some more catching up and reminiscing again.
We went back to the meet (surprisingly it was standing room only), watched a few more events, and then it was time to go our separate ways once again. We promised to not let 40 years pass by again until we all saw each other again, and I know I will do my best to make sure that does not happen.
I spent the drive home just thinking about how great the weekend was and how happy and energized I felt.
It then dawned on me that this must be the key to the fountain of youth – old friends, laughter, and a good helping of immaturity. I feel blessed to have all of those in my life.
I’m also grateful to Facebook for enabling many of us to rekindle our friendships over the past few years.
I’m also grateful (I think) for text messaging. The planning for the weekend get together was all done via text messaging, which quickly degenerated into a R-rated set of insults back and forth, continued on past the swim meet and I am sure will carry on for a few more days.
By the way, here’s a little blurb about the Fountain of Youth from history.com:
On April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León and his crew became the first recorded Europeans to set eyes on Florida. Legend holds that they made this discovery while searching for the Fountain of Youth, a magical water source supposedly capable of reversing the aging process and curing sickness.
So it seems like Ponce de Leon was on the right trail, the source of the fountain of youth was in a magical water source; it just so happens that magical water source was the heavily chlorinated pool at East Stroudburg State College in the mid-to-late 1970s.