Season’s End

This is always a strange time of year for me. After Labor Day a switch gets flicked and the Jersey Shore begins to prepare for a sleepy off-season, swim clubs lock their gates until the Memorial Day, and the semi-relaxed pace of Summer is tossed away as everything 1gears up for a “return to business2.” My year-long sermon map even comes to an end, and the file I’ve been looking at for the last 52 weeks suddenly becomes nothing more than an archive.

Last evening, however, I was faced with the oddest reminder of the season’s end I have ever experienced. It had been a crummy day on many fronts, but mostly because of the weather. It was humid, cloudy, and raining off and on. Just before Six o’Clock, though, the weather broke. The Sun emerged, the humidity dropped, and a beautiful evening emerged. So my son and I decided to head to the swim club 3. We arrived right around Six PM, and pulled into a completely empty parking lot.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There were a few cars in the lot. But, as I peered through the fence and noticed no life guards on the stands, I came to the conclusion the scattering of cars present had to belong to employees. My son and I approached the entrance and produced our membership cards. I held them out and asked with an uncertain voice, “Are you even open?”

“Oh yah, but it’s been slow because the weather’s been bad.”

“Slow” did not cover it. Other than a few life-guards doing various tasks around the club, and the manager working on some equipment, the place was empty. I’m not even using hyperbole. My son and I were literally the only members in the entire club. The manager actually had to pull a guard off of law care duty just so my son and I could use the pool. We took turns going off the dive for about forty minutes 4, and my son even managed to do some impressive watermelons 5. He also managed to do some can-openers, which he’s always resisted doing 6. After that we swam in the main pool for a bit, just floating around in the quiet club.

And then, we were done. There was no reason to stick around, we’d been off the dive more times in one evening than we’d probably managed in the last several weeks 7, and there was no one for my son to hang out with 8. So, we got out, dried off, and got ready to leave. By the time I picked up my bag the lifeguard was already moving to return to her yard work, and the pool had already returned to the glassy smooth surface which had greeted us when we arrived. Technically, it’s season is still in progress — but tonight it felt as though our club had already moved on.

I guess the season’s end really has arrived.


  1. With the exception of the Jersey Shore, that is. More and more towns are remaining “open” for tourists well into the Fall, but it’s just not the same. 
  2. But let’s be honest. It’s really a “return to busyness.” 
  3. Insert suburbanite scoffing here. When you are finished, please continue reading. 
  4. And I got zero credit on my fitness circles, dang it! 
  5. What is a watermelon? I’m glad you ask. Basically, you go off the board as though you planned on doing a dive, but tuck in to a ball and roll into the water just as you’re about to hit the surface. Done well, it makes a splash which follows the direction your feet are moving. It’s fun. 
  6. If I have to tell you what a can-opener is, I can’t help you. You’re just too far gone. 
  7. And I was getting sore 
  8. Just floating in the pool gets boring after a while, for a teenager. 
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