“Hey Brother! There’s an endless road to rediscover.
Hey Sister! Know the water’s sweet, but blood is thicker.
Oh and if the sky comes fallin’ down for you…
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.”
- Hey Brother, Avicii
I have six brothers.
It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
My brothers are some of the most important people in my life. They have not only shaped who I am, but they continually shape who I am becoming. They each have their own attributes and character traits, quirks and flaws. I love every part of every one of them so entirely that sometimes I see right past their foolishness and adore them all the more for their humanity. They are some of the best men I’ve ever known – hard working, smart, loyal, strong, proud… stubborn.
So at Family Dinner one day (Family Dinner: Every Sunday. The Bosch House. You’re Invited. Exercise Extreme Caution.), I asked them to help me write my pool workouts for the week. It turned into a lot of fun and some crazy discussions and ideas. From there, I incorporated it into my week and brought feedback to the next Family Dinner. I thought you might like to know how I find my inspiration – swimming for so long all by myself. The answer is I carry all my friends and family with me, and this is one example of how. For your sake, I will go in order from oldest to youngest.
My big brother. He’s the one who was always there for me. The protector and the wise one. He was always there to help me through whatever stuff I was facing. Watching him now, married to an amazing woman with a toddler, I see something different in him. He’s so stable. So steady. And so… thinking of him all the while and his family, I swam 4 miles in 200 yard increments. Steady. Stable. Nathan.
My brother just younger than me. Seth is so smart. His insight is so deep and profound; I truly value his opinion and outlook on the world. He’s always been a great friend to me: somebody I wanted to hang out with and spend time with. He had a way of challenging me that I didn’t always pick up on. He’s tough too – a complete beast when it comes to working out. So for him, I picked elements of my favorite butterfly workout – because it’s hard and tough, but I like it the best. And it’s different from all the yards and yards of freestyle – and Seth was never one just like the rest of the crowd. He was always his own person, in his perfectly quiet way.
Aaron… well… Aaron is militant and difficult. Don’t get me wrong! He’s a big boy with a big heart and a big ole bear hug, and you’ll never find a kinder, sweeter, nicer, more loyal person… but he’s militant and difficult. Actually, I think that personality-wise – Aaron and I are the most alike in our passion and tenacity. But I’m just a bit more… governed. So, thinking of Aaron, I picked a militant and difficult workout. I wrote a workout that had several 400s and at every 75 mark, I got out of the pool and did pushups or situps or some other nasty land exercise. Then I did a long set of suicides (which are tough in the pool). Aaron wanted me to swim with a fifty pound back-pack on… but I conveniently forgot it at home.
“Caleb,” I said, “Let me tell you about the workout I did for you.”
With his brown hair all a mess and his brown eyes wandering and his stubbly chin, Caleb looks like any teenage boy – awkward. But he’s not your average awkward, and he’s not your average teenager. Having tested somewhere on the Autism spectrum as a kid, he’s really come along in the past few years socially. But he’s still quiet and, in a big family, it’s easy to be missed. He’s extremely gifted in computers and math; he would hack into Nathan’s computer at the age of 3 years old to play video games. These days, it’s nice to get to know him – it’s a privilege to find things he gets excited about.
“For you,” I continued, “I did a Star Trek workout.”
He tilted his head and furrowed his bushy eyebrows, trying to figure this out. “Heh. What?”
“So I just did this workout where I did 20 laps a whole bunch of times,” I said. “The first 4 were on Warp 2. Then the next 3 were on Warp 4. And Warp 6 for the next 2 and Warp 8 for the last!”
“How did you do?” He asked, actually intrigued by my swim workout.
(A Moment: Can we all just pause and appreciate the fact that somebody who knows nothing about swimming was actually intrigued by a swim workout? How often does that happen?!?!)
“Well… my warp core was broken,” I said.
“Wha-at?” he asked, chuckling.
“I wasn’t so good at keeping a steady pace, speed… warp… up,” I said. “I was thinking I needed more crystals.”
“Yes! Those crystals. But,” I smiled broadly, “I did often think to myself, ‘I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!'”
We all laughed. Caleb with his toothy grin and all around the table at Family Dinner. That was one of my most favorite conversations I’ve ever had with Caleb.
My brother Micah is unique – physically, because he’s the skinny one. The only skinny one. (I am actually grateful that I don’t have his genetics because his lips turn purple when he swims on a hot summer day.) But where most of my brothers have been the indoor, computer, intellectual types – Micah likes to do outdoors-y things like hunt and fish and lay in the grass and stare at the stars and talk about hunting and fishing. He had advised me that I should do some crazy things like run in the pool or flip off the walls or jump over the lane lines. So I did do some of those crazy things. I practiced underwater turns and I ran, and I did even jump over the lane lines (which is actually good training for adventure swimming because you’ll never know when you come to a log jam). For the life of me, I can’t remember the set that I did – but you know what, I think that’s okay for Micah. Because it’s the special things that stand out about him, anyway.
Gideon is the 7th kid, and he was named Gideon because it’s biblical and because the 7th son in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was named Gideon. True story. Now go watch the movie. Gideon is outspoken and friendly. He’s smart and energetic. He’s got that passion, and he’s just fun to be around. One of my favorite times with him was one winter day when he invited me to play Mario on the Nintendo 64. He had dug out the old system and got it working, and we played it. Mostly, I played it. And he watched me… and laughed hysterically. True story. So for him, I did the Mario workout. It was a shorter distance workout with lots of shorter sprints. Confession: I did a lot of breast-stroke. Not real breast-stroke. Mario breast-stroke. I can’t do real breast-stroke, anyway. (As an aside – I have gone so far as to try to hire somebody to teach me breast-stroke and people WON’T EVEN HELP ME WHEN I TRY TO PAY THEM TO FIX MY BREASTSTROKE!!!! Can you tell how upsetting this is to me?!?! Tears, people. There are tears.) Back in Mario- land, I wanted to find a culvert to swim down but, in the end, elected not to. I did also do some jumping and some cannonballs. Because, what the heck? It’s a Mario Bros. workout, after all! I loved telling Gideon all about it as much as I loved doing it.
Those are my brothers. Quirky, funny, random, smart… good. My inspiration for life and for swimming. They are, truly and positively, some of my most favorite people and it’s an honor to be related to them. Most of the time.