Monday’s post about the long-unnecessary elimination of swimming tests in my alma mater has generated some thought-provoking reactions.
Gavin Freibi suggested that the need may have arisen from the “muscular Christian” movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He noted that swimming was considered particularly masculine at the time, and that physical strength among men was increasingly equivalent to Christian virtue. (Then, my alma mater would be all male.) I have to admit, I didn’t think of that. The timing seems precise, but whether it was part of a religious movement is lost to history.
Michael Burke writes in a disturbing memoir:
“At the Virginia Military Institute, all the cadets still take a semester swimming course (a total of three years of the required PE) – I took it in 1969 – in those men’s days, it was done naked – that changed my senior year. I can guarantee you Fifty naked 18-year-old men in that pool were probably as awkward as you think. “
Glad my test in 1986 was not very good.
While I was there, another Williams Grad wrote that he had signed up for a remedial swimming class instead of taking a swimming test. He knew he would fail, only to discover that almost all the students in the remedial swimming class were either black or Hispanic. If this is true in the 80’s, it is interesting to note that it took until 2022 to eliminate this requirement.
Some have written to protect necessity, noting that drowning is a significant cause of death. It is, of course, but the only danger is that it has its own graduation requirements.
Thanks to my wise and worldly readers for adding context!
The traveling gods are angry and demand sacrifices.
Last month I attended the AACC conference in New York City, where I contracted Kovid. I hoped that the transition would satisfy the hunger of the traveling gods for some time. But no.
I had a busy schedule near Cleveland last week, so I booked a flight from New York. The flight there was a bit delayed but nothing terrible, and I thought the engagement was really good. Later I return to Cleveland Airport, looking forward to a good day.
At that moment, I think, the traveling gods smelled. They took their revenge.
My return flight, scheduled for about 8:00 pm, was delayed several times before finally being canceled. I had to shake to find a hotel nearby and I was able to catch the last shuttle before they stopped running. I received a text from the airline that they had re-booked me on the next morning flight, so I set the alarm for darkness on my phone and did my best.
I woke up at 4:45 with a text that the morning flight had also been canceled. Other airlines had no rationale ই mostly 10-hour marathons with routes such as “Cleveland to Newark via Atlanta”, which seemed like a tempting fortune. Amtrak was literally nothing. So I rented a car.
Students of geography will quickly understand that driving from Cleveland to New York involves crossing the Pennsylvania long way. Very, very long way. Somewhat complicated, I had a late-morning zoom call that I didn’t really want to miss. The night I took it home it wasn’t a problem, but going back one day created a new conflict. How to make a zoom call from Route 80 in Central Pennsylvania?
Here’s a shout out to the manager at the Fairfield Inn in Dubois, PA. I set up base camp in the breakfast area of the hotel (it was about 11). He seems confused enough to make it happen. From there I unzipped the iPad, zoomed in, and headed back down the street. I don’t know how well I’ve come across, but in the circumstances, I’m proud of it.
Okay, travel god, you’ve made your point. Could the next trip be uneventful?
On Thursday The Boy FaceTime asked me to draw my knowledge of obsolete technology from Virginia: “I just picked up some old-school speakers for free! What do I do with these cables? “
I fought back to ask if he had raised a hand crank to give them strength.