7.23.2004

Free Diving Tragedy
I do not subscribe to Sports Illustrated (SI), heck, I don't even watch sports on TV (too much VH1 to watch) Yet, there was an SI cover story some years back that caught my eye; The Deadly Dive. Each year I may grab one or two issues of Sports Illustrated from my father's house. I almost always grab the swimsuit issues and then there is a story like this that stirs some interest. This true story of a Cuban freediver and his French freediving girlfriend impacted me before I even started to read it. It was clear that it was going to be a sad tale, but I felt compelled to read it just the same. Then for some reason I held onto this issue and reread it today just over a year since its release, after reading it I did some online searching. Here is an article from the survivor's of this relationship's perspective. I have not finished it, so I am bookmarking it for me and for others here; Pepin's Perspective on that fateful day.  I was not able to find an online version of the SI article.

There is something powerful about water. We are all drawn to it. People go to the beach and set up their chairs and just watch. Days can be spent listening to the waves and soaking in the sea air. Most do not enter the water, others do little more than get their feet wet. These freedivers pushed the limits of the human body and swam to the greatest depths. It is enchanting to me.  I respect their drive and mourn their loss. There is no need to pass judgment on safety this or negligence that. Had no one been hurt there would be no mention of the lack of preparation. We all take risks. Each day your normal person exceeds the speed limit, smokes a cigarette, or gets on a bicycle without a helmet. On this day things went terribly wrong and that is all that needs to be said.  It is the zest for life that caused them to past their limits. The risks were always known, certainly that is part of the rush. If it were easy, then the record would not mean anything.

I can not reference this link without reflecting on another sad tale, Heart of the Sea. Another story of a freediver. Only this freediver did not lose her life in one of her many surf competitions or out freediving, she battled breast cancer for 15 years. Both stories will move you.  

I would hate to lose my life while out riding my bike. It would be sad to get run over by a car or to snap my neck crashing on a technical downhill. But, it would be more sad not to ride my bike around the city or for me to not ride and race as fast as I can on dirt. Precautions are taken, yet so are risks.  It is overcoming these risks and approaching certain fears that offer the rush and make life worth living.  I aim to live a long full life. The thought of missing out on seeing my sons grow up to be old men saddens me deeply.  These are things that I do not even like to contemplate. To entertain such thoughts could surely make a person phobic.
 




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