It’s grade 9, and the chilly autumn air permeates our city. During science class, Ms. Woods slips into our classroom to recruit swim team members. I was genuinely excited. Swimming was one of the few sports that I didn’t completely fail at. So I filled out my form, brought my money to Ms. Woods, and signed up as a member. The one thing I could not understand was where our pool was.

I found out why I had never seen it. And why I had to pay.

We didn’t have a pool.

1900 students, 3 floors, a large (ish) parking lot, a field in our backyard…..

But no pool.

What the hell.

Well I decided to join anyways, and for the duration of the swimming season, my fellow team mates and I went to Don Mills C.I. to do our practices. That’s right. We had to rent pool time. In winter. Get thoroughly frozen on our way there, take off 3000 layers, slosh through mysterious liquids in the change room, then freeze once again in the pool.  Even days when the pool was warm were disconcerting; who knows happened there?

Now, I’m not blaming DMCI.  No.  I’m sure if we had a pool, it’d be equally appalling.

I’m just mad that our swim team doesn’t even get the dignity of going through all that in our own pool.  We spend our precious pre-exam time, TTC tickets, and hard-earned cash for shattered pride and frozen body parts.  Only our love for swimming (and competing) kept us going.

This isn’t just about the swim team.  Our school may have excellent courses in physical education, but it lacks a swimming unit.  Think of all those kids that may or may not want to swim, but can’t because the provisions aren’t there.   Don’t you feel their pain?  And what about intramural events, and other aquatic activities?  They all don’t exist simply because we have no pool.  Countless possibilities taken by the throat and crushed.

But it’s pretty much too late to add a pool to MGCI now.  And even if it were added, after a brief spell of contentment at the convenience and repaired pride, I’m pretty sure I’d just end up complaining about the crappy conditions there.  Like how residue pool water would supercool us after we step out into the cold, how sparkly our heads would be after a practice, and how ridiculously disturbing our pool area’s hygiene would be.  That goes without saying anywhere during winter.

Especially TDSB high schools.

Thanks for that.