Tonight the Scouts went to the Provo Rec Center pool to work on some swimming requirements. As a Scout in Colorado I once took a plunge into the lake at Camp Tahosa, but panic set in when I realized I could not breathe – – the water in that mountain lake was colder than anything I’d ever experienced, and I was fished out of the water with a long metal hook. I was in awe of the Scouts I saw complete a 1-mile swim in the same lake. Later in the week, the lake was the site of a memorable canoeing contest.
Our troop entered a canoe race in which the canoes had to travel from the near shore of the lake to the far shore, and then back to the near shore again. This race was the climax of competitions among the troops that were at the camp that week. As the canoes made their way back toward the near shore, our troop was neck-and-neck with a troop just to its right. Those two canoes were in the lead – – our canoe would surge to a slight lead when our crew plunged its paddles into the water, but the lead would immediately change hands when the opposing crew then plunged its paddles into the water. As I observed from the shore, it seemed that the winner would simply be the team that put its paddles in the water last, that the victor would be determined essentially by chance. With about 10 feet to go it appeared that luck was on the side of the opposing troop – – given the distance to shore and the cadence of the paddling, the opposing crew would paddle last, and the opposing troop would win. But Steve Brown was positioned in the nose of our troop’s canoe, and Steve Brown was not leaving things to chance. As the nose of the opposing canoe was making its final surge ahead of our canoe, Steve Brown’s outstretched right hand suddenly appeared at the nose of the opposing canoe, grabbed hold of the nose, and with a strong backward thrust pushed the opposing canoe backwards, and propelled our canoe forward to victory!
(These reflections after an April 12 experience were written on June 7, 2006)