The Art of the Splash

Jethro, also known as The Splash Artist, had a lot of splashes that he could do.

He tucked his legs up into his chest and smacked into the pool, sending a splash cascading onto the shrubs. Then he did a “can opener” and sent a big splash onto his sisters. It was a hot day, so they were not too upset.

When Jethro finished splashing, W¢ sat downs chat.

“So how did you get into splashing?” I asked. “I have been splashing since I was five or six. You see, Dad and I like to swim. In the summer we are out here by the pool all weekend,” said Jethro. “We swim and splash from dawn to dusk. When I was six or seven we started to have splash contests.”

“Dad was bigger than me. He still is. So he makes a big splash. I saw that if I wanted to outsplash him, I had to be smart. I found out there is an art to how you land in the pool. If you bend at the moment you hit, that helps a lot. If you hit the pool sort of slanted, you can make a big, big splash. And, best of all, you can target the splash. What matters the most is how your back is facing when you hit. You can bend it and tilt it all sorts of different ways. Once you get the hang of it, you can make the splash shoot off to one side and start aiming at targets, like garden beds, or sisters. Sisters are harder to hit since they can run and swim. Also, sometimes they splash you back.”

“How long did it take you to get good at splashing?” I asked.

“It took a long time. I'd say five summers. I made hundreds and hundreds of splashes. Lots of them were lame.”

This is something almost all of the kids I meet tell me. Whether they excel at making splashes or spelling words, they all say it takes time to get good. If you want to be good at something, you have to keep at it. If you want to be one of the best, you have to keep at it day in and day out.

“So you used those tricks to win the big contest?”

“Yep. The Splashman Contest was last week. Dad and I went down for it. On my last splash I landed a nice one. I soaked the deck. All the fans were dripping wet. At the Splashman Contest that’s a good thing. The fans there want to get wet. They think you are awesome if you soak them to the skin. It’s not like when you get your sisters wet and they run off to whine to Mom. Boo, hoo!”

“It was a great splash,” said his dad. “One of the best I’ve ever seen!”

“What was the prize?” I asked.
“A hundred bucks,” said Jethro.
“What are you going to spend it on?”
“Um,” Jethro said, “Mom says we have to use it to fill the pool.”
Jethro’s dad nodded.

“Man, you should see our pool bill!” he said. “We have to fill the pool each day to make up for what Jethro splashes out. A splash here, a splash there. After a while, it starts to add up.”

It was getting late. I had jotted down all the facts. It was time for me to go. I shook hands with The Splash Artist. Then I went back to my car.

As I drove off, I saw Jethro do one last splash. He sent a huge splash shooting onto one of the garden beds. I think it was the one with the eggplants.