My running days are behind me and I don't really miss them. Though I'm sometimes tempted to give it another try in order to get moving again, running was a chore and I never much enjoyed it.
Luckily, kids have kept me moving and while some warned that the weight would pile on when I became a dad, the reverse happened and I lost some weight, presumably because I rarely sat down anymore at home when the kids were awake.
But, still, I need exercise, as we all do. When the kids started their umpteenth swimming class, I thought it might be nice to swim on a regular basis. It would satisfy the exercise goal, but also would help me improve my swimming.
You see, in the words of a world champion, albeit fictional, synchronized swimmer, I'm not such a strong swimmer. My Ligurian roots have done little to turn my family into mermen and mermaids (we're from up in the mountains, after all). Oh, I can swim – thanks to those lessons my parents insisted on at Kingsborough Community College – but I'd likely be described as an average swimmer, at best.
So, I signed up at Gold's Gym Downtown and, this week, dived into swimming on a daily basis. Well, "diving" might be a strong word, but I'm trying.
The pool at Gold's is awesome for my purposes. The pool isn't deep – it's a uniform 3-feet, 6-inches deep, from end to end – and runs 60 feet long. It's got salt water, which I really like, though sadly, the city's health department doesn't apparently recognize salt as a stand-alone chlorine producer in pools (though salt does produce some chlorine on its own), so the water is also chlorinated.
Also, at the times I go, there is rarely more than one other person around. It gets busier at other times, but I've been trying to find moments when I can find my footing in this swim routine without feeling too self-conscious. Because, honestly, I'm a little self-conscious about it.
I have no illusions. I don't expect my modest routine will turn me into Michael Phelps (though I do enjoy hearing music in headphones). But if I improve my swimming and get some good exercise, too – plus a nice little daily schvitz thrown into the bargain – I'll be happy as a clam.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.