The Sad Truth Is

The reason I write this blog is because things happen that deserve to be debated. Because my interest in life happens to be swimming it is natural that the topics covered by Swimwatch are primarily swimming related. Recently I have written about the bizarre selection of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team, the farce that is the West Wave swimming pool, the irony of awarding John Mace a New Year’s honour and Swimming New Zealand’s imminent appointment of a Targeted Athlete and Coach Manager. These items merit further discussion. They involve issues that will affect swimmers and swimming. It would not be right to let them pass without comment. Bad things happen when the rest of us stay silent.

But twice this week I have had to confess to living a very sad life. Reading the Swimming New Zealand Annual Report on New Year’s Eve qualifies as sad. Gone are the days when I stood outside on a freezing Scottish hill, drinking whisky, while a highland farmer fired his shot gun to welcome in the New Year. Now I have to settle for the company of Cotterill and Johns. I have to tell you it is not the same.

And the second sad reflection of my life is my habit of collecting memorabilia. Some people collect vintage cars or airplanes. Others have cabinets full of exotic butterflies. A swimmer in my Florida team specialised in collecting lethal spiders. I have had to settle for collecting the names of the 154 swimming pools I have visited. I agree with you. It is not the same. It is sad.

The third sad aspect of my life has nothing to do with swimming. Ashamed as I am to admit this fact, I am a fan of Coronation Street. For American readers, Coronation Street is a British version of Days of our Lives. Coronation Street has something in common with Swimwatch; no one admits watching one or reading the other. The Street or Corrie, as it’s known to regular viewers, is serious stuff. When they put an innocent Deidre in jail I was close to signing the petition demanding her release. I didn’t only because the Prime Minister actually addressed the issue in the British parliament and said his government was going to investigate.

I would not be admitting to watching Coronation Street if it was not for something that occurred at the end of last night’s episode. You see Billy, he’s the gay vicar, and the gay chap, Todd, who works for Tracy, in the flower shop decided it was time to get together. There they were, in the flower shop, practising deep-throat two, with no holds barred.

I don’t think I’m homophobic. I try a lead a fairly liberal life. I certainly think gay people should be free to marry and live a life free from prejudice like the rest of us. One of my better swimmers in Florida was openly gay. He was a super member of the team; one of the best. He taught me a lot. I learned it was okay for him to welcome his boyfriend with a kiss when they met at the pool. I learned that he was accepted, in every normal way, by some very straight testosterone-laden males on our team. Doug was a thoroughly decent human being.

However, Billy and Todd getting it on in Preston’s Petals took me by surprise. I guess it shows there are latent homophobic prejudices still in there somewhere. However I will be watching tonight’s episode of Coronation Street to see what happens.

I can’t believe I’ve written 600 words about Coronation Street. However before closing a subject, that will never to be mentioned on Swimwatch again, there is a final point that must be made. Television New Zealand recently changed the time slot for Coronation Street to 9.30 – 10.30pm. I object. Don’t those trendy types that run Television New Zealand realise that for all of us, who have been watching The Street, for fifty years that time is far too late. 9.30pm is way past our bedtime.

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