Slam Poem: An Ode to the Chlorine Water (performed 2/27/16)

The following is a slam poem that I wrote, inspired by my three years on varsity swim team at ISB. This is dedicated to my fantastic team and coaches, but I believe I speak for all athletes and coaches from all sports who strive for improvement, mutually encouraging each other.

At our final team party, these were the words I spoke.

This is an ode, a gesture of gratification
Because of you, I never wanted a vacation
From the dullness we call life,
From the habit we call school
Beating on, heads against the current
But propelling ourselves with our feet
For you knew that last was winning
If your fight was in your pace
If we were better than yesterday
Then we have truly won our race.

We came. We swam. We conquered.
Paid with the price of afternoons
Remember back at bootcamp
Soreness was our big boon
But we never forgot to play games
And lose sight of all the fun
We couldn’t have done it without our coaches
For though their job was done
They had complete belief in us
Remembering the days when they were young
Coach Nic who has been at our side
Pushing us to our best
Reminders that excellence is never an accident
And hard times never last
Coach Arthur Joe and Glover
Were on our team as well
Enriching and encouraging
And always making us smile
Lastly we had Ariel
A mermaid in disguise
Who massaged us into fabulous shape
And conditioned us to win the race
And what is the race, you ask
For that touchpad is certainly past
But the race is really the journey
And the journey was all too fast
All too soon the seniors will leave
And new freshmen will join the team
Muscles may wither, goggles may break
But memories stay hither
The greatest souvenir I can take
Is the one in here and here
And I thank you all for the inspiration
And try to not grow up too fast.

When we were tired we were together
When we celebrated we were the same
We’re individuals who have bonded
As we came to know each other by name
The freshmen have been fabulous
Though a little shy at first
They’ve won our races, learned our faces
In my heart the young come first.
Grade ten is swag as ever
As I had remembered them last
They’ve taken their year into stride
And showed their value many times over
Juniors have big shoes to fill
As Jerry so eloquently said
But enjoy the times as they last
Yes, you have done us proud.
Us seniors we’re all too sad to go
But we leave without regrets
We’d all love to stay in touch
As I’m sure you all know

At last let us not part in sorrow
For a pool is not just a vessel
But now every time I swim in one
It will be filled with memory hence.
Those of you lucky enough to stay
Allow me parting words of advice
Lessons can be learned anywhere
The water alone can suffice
Go placidly amid the noise and haste
And sometimes it’s glorious to fail
Squeeze the juice out of the moment
For even fools have a story to tell.

This is an ode to the chlorine water
Which has made our showers so sweet
Where we have had countless workouts
And had our victories and defeats
But comrades, I tell you we are successful
If we have made one another smile
If we have dared to dive off the block
If we have gone the extra mile.


First published on FB.


One thought on “Slam Poem: An Ode to the Chlorine Water (performed 2/27/16)

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