Speaking of Sports

By John Fragodt, Sports Reporter 

Kids, when you get a chance, make sure to learn to dive the proper way.  I took swimming lessons when I was younger, but only learned to surface dive or dive from the side of the pool.  Growing up, some of my friends could dive really well, including jack knives, swan dives and 1 1/2 flip dives.  For me, I could do a butt-cracker pretty good, but I left the diving to others.

Well, that continued for me as I got older, but I always worked on my surface dives to make it look like I could dive.  Fast forward many years to a night two months ago when my son and his family and in-laws stopped by our home to take us for a pontoon ride.  It was June 29 and a perfect Friday night.  We ventured around Nordic Point on Lake Pelican and toward the south end of the lake where we found a spot to go swimming for a while.

Since my son hadn’t come prepared to go swimming, I jumped in with two of my grandkids to swim for a while.  No problem there, but when we got back on the pontoon, they wanted to jump off the back for a bit.

On one of our final jumps, I was going to impress the grandkids with a flip.  However, part of me decided that might be too risky so I decided to surface dive instead from the back of the pontoon with a running start.  When I jumped off, I didn’t stay flat enough, but instead, rounded my arms at the last second before hitting the water.  My right arm his first while the rest of my body kept going forward.  I immediately sensed something was wrong as I felt a pull on my shoulder area.  Suddenly, I could feel my shoulder become dislocated and as I headed back up to the surface of the water, I quickly yelled out that I had dislocated my shoulder and needed help.

Well, the adults on the pontoon thought I had a cramp and laughed at me for having a cramp after just one dive.  I think I even heard my daughter-in-law say to my son ‘boy, your dad is sure getting old’.  I yelled again for help, but when no one responded, I realized the best way for me to get back on the pontoon was to paddle with my left arm and pull myself up.

When everyone realized what had happened, we raced across the lake to our home on the north side and then got in a car (it wasn’t easy) before heading to the emergency room.

Long story short, it took over three hours before they got the arm back into place, due to a variety of reasons, but once they did, life was so wonderful again.  Before that, I was in the worst pain I had felt for an extended time ever.  It took me three to four weeks before I could do much, but currently, I’m almost back to normal.

And, now we also have a funny story to tell about Grandpa John and Dislocation Bay.  Yeah, my son thought it necessary to name the area where the accident occurred.  And what could I say about that, because it actually was kind of funny now that I think about it.  However, I’m always about morals and the moral of this story is that everyone should not only learn to swim when they are younger, but learn to dive.  And, if you’re not willing to learn to dive properly, don’t try to impress your grandkids by diving off the back of the pontoon.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but I should have went with the flip.  Maybe next time . . .