by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

BARCELONA, Spain — I am looking for a few good men. I am looking for men with guts. Men with honor. Mostly I am looking for men who can hold their breath for long periods of time.

I am starting my own synchronized swim team.

I am starting my own synchronized swim team.

Sorry. Just getting in the mood.

Synchronized swimmers do everything together. Everything together. They are like the Doublemint Twins. Doublemint Twins. I am starting a team. I think we can win. At the very least, we will meet a lot of women — because this is an all- female sport.

Don’t worry. As soon as we get the mascara and lipstick thing worked out, we’re in.

So let’s be ready, boys. Let’s get our bathing suits on and our music selected. If they can do it, we can do it. The All- Male Synchronized Swimming Team. Of course, there will be differences. The women traditionally walk out together, smiling like the Stepford Wives, and dive gently into the pool.

Our team will do “cannonballs.”

And instead of those cute little sequined hats, we will wear baseball caps that read “Party Naked.”

Also, we’re not wearing any of that waterproof eye shadow. I don’t care if they deduct points.

Did I mention the Jell-O?

They smear it in their hair.

“It gives a nice shine,” say Karen and Sarah Josephson, the identical U.S. twins who lead the duet competition going into today’s compulsory figures.
“It’s the best stuff. Really. Just regular gelatin.”

Great. I vote for strawberry.

With the leftovers, we have a food fight.

Ready, boys?

Ready, boys? Eight men in

Hey, come on now. Stop hiding under the lawn mower. I know, deep down, you secretly admire synchronized swimming, even if, in public, you tell people it is, without a doubt, the dumbest sport you have ever seen.

Why, I know men who can’t stop staring at these women when they dunk their heads under water and wiggle their little feet in the air. OK. True, most of these men scratch their bellies and say, “What the hell are they doing?” But they’re still staring.

Besides, what about the other famous synchro moves? Like when they dance like ballerinas past the underwater cameras? Or when they flip upside down and make a pretzel shape with their legs? Or, my favorite, when they hold their hands in front of their faces and smile hugely, as if to say, “Hey, look! There’s a hand attached to this arm!”

You think that doesn’t take talent?

You think that doesn’t take talent?

So let’s get that sign-up sheet passed around, men. And then, everyone into the pool for our opening move, the “choreographed belly flop.” Followed closely by the “pretend-yo’re-a-shark-by-putting-two-hands-on-top-of-your-head-like-a-fin”

move. Word is, they are increasing the Olympic team synchronized swimming competition to eight members by 1996. Think of it! Eight of us, in the pool, at the same time, doing our shark thing?

And you thought you wanted to be a figure skater.

Now. I must admit I already have a few names on my wish list. Men I think would do well on my team. I am thinking Kirk Gibson. I am thinking Charles Barkley. I am thinking Jose Canseco, Bob Probert, John McEnroe. I am thinking Bubba Paris, provided he never dives in the pool, because he will displace all the water.

I am thinking John Madden.

Those are my A-list guys. I think we’ll look fabulous in our hot-pink, sequined swim trunks. We can call ourselves Dream Team II. We are men of courage. Men of honor.

Of course, we’ll have to shave.


But that’s a small price to pay.

“How long can you hold you breath?” I ask Karen Josephson, just for training purposes.

“Three minutes,” she says.

Whoa! Did you hear that?

Whoa! Did you hear that? The nose knows

We’d better get cracking. I suggest we practice in our bathtubs. Don’t try any spin moves just yet. You’re liable to knock everything off the counter.

Wait. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Coach, I wanna be on the team, but every time I flip over in the pool, ready to kick like Esther Williams, I get all this water up my nose. I don’t want to cost us a medal by having to surface to get a Kleenex.”

Never fear, son. We now have . . . interior nose plugs! It’s true! They fit right up the nostrils. You don’t even see them.

“A lot of swimmers like them,” Sarah says, “but we’re too used to the old nose plugs.”

“Besides,” sniffs her sister, “The only people who use interior nose plugs are the ones who feel that regular nose plugs affect the look of their face and their smile during competition.”

Yeah. What are we? Wimps?

What do we care about nose plugs, when we’re doing our trademark
“eight-guys-off-the-diving-board-while-someone- throws-a-water-balloon” maneuver?

You think the judges are gonna mark us down for nose plugs?

And hey. If they do, we push ’em in the pool. We’re guys, remember?

So let’s pass around that pen. I want names, ages and flip-flop sizes. I want suggestions for our music. Anyone who suggests the theme from “Ice Castles” is automatically rejected. Springsteen, the Stones and Chuck Berry are encouraged.

Our time has come, comrades. I am looking for a few good men. Men of honor. Men of courage. And I want to see you all at the pool, bright and early, first thing tomorrow morning.

Right after field hockey practice.


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