Thursday, October 06, 2016

Joining a gang...

Yesterday seen me join a gang… never thought I would utter those words but yes it’s true!  I joined the “Donaghadee Chunky Dunkers”.  A raving mad gang of friends of every age, gender and size. Nutters who have in common the love of swimming in the sea throughout the year.  

As you will know from previous blogs I’ve been considering this move for about a week.  During the middle of last week I did two reconnaissance missions just to check out what all was involved and what equipment was needed.

In short I learnt that you needed to have 3 things:
1.       Courage to endure the first minute of shock as the body adjusts to the cold
2.       A boldness not to care/worry about others thought of you in your swim wear
3.       A humongous towel to ensure you kept your decency about you at all times

Having ordered item 3 over the internet, a large towel the size of the town hall I knew I had that one covered (pardon the pun).  I knew from my cycling days that I could switch off to what people thought. I was that fat lad in lycra and benefited greatly from it.  Yes people may have been sniggering but whilst they entertained themselves by laughing at others, I was having the time of life and bagging memories I hold dear and that will last.  I know which side of that equation I would rather be on.

Now knowing I had items 2 & 3 covered thoughts went to item 1.  As the weekend passed I knew in my knower that 75% of me really wanted to do it whilst bizarrely the other 25% was trying to talk me out of it. Tuesday came and I was shattered and having to deal with the aftermath of my first Pilates class the day before.  So when Wednesday came I knew it was now or never.  I grabbed myself and my photographer and headed down.

As we arrived yet again I couldn’t get over how warm and welcoming the gang is, it’s phenomenal. I barely know the majority of folks there yet immediately I was made to feel like family.  Many other organisations could learn just a lot from this wee group.  The moment arrived and people started heading out to the water.  As the water enveloped my feet I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as cold as I expected.  As I gently nudged deeper a wave of generous proportions hit me around the waist and the sting of the cold started to break into my consciousness.  In a moment of madness I decided I would let the next wave ride over me as I sunk deep into the water.  The gently sting moved up a gear but nowhere near to the level I was expecting.  In a short moment or two later I had acclimatised and was actually feeling exhilarated. 

A towel/robe the size of the town hall...

When I was young I took great pleasure in doing head stands whilst in the water swimming.  A thing that in adulthood I now do as a matter of course without thinking.  Second nature I dived and let my feet hang in the air where once my head was.  As I surfaced I heard the sound of laughter as my fellow chunkies chuckled at my manoeuvres.  I loved it!!

I note on the groups Facebook page that over 200 people have ‘liked’ the page.  Can you imagine the banter and craic of 200 people swimming in Donaghadee bay… amazing!

As I close I leave you with this thought for the weekend.  When I was cycling I used to see old boys in lycra sit in coffee shops and enjoy cycling whilst the world passed by, they were living the life and had BIG smiles on their faces.  I loved the way they didn’t care what they looked like or what people thought of them, they were living in the moment and no-one could rob them of it.  The chunky dunkers are another group of similar joy filled character that deeply inspires me.  What’s your idea of living life and what’s holding you back?  Tell me it’s not the thoughts of others…

Enjoy your weekend! Talk soon...

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