It’s summer, over 95 degrees, and you are sweating like a dog. You decide to head out your back door and jump in your pool. You get in and you immediately start to cool down. It seems like a good thing and it is. However, anything man made has its drawbacks. People need to understand a swimming pool’s pros, cons, and how it can affect them in the long run.
In the summertime, if you asked people where do they usually go on a hot day, most would say the swimming pool. It is a great place to meet. When I videotaped practices for my high school football team over summer break, I would invite them to come to hang out at my house and swim in the pool. The water felt great and actually has massaging effects on the body. Speaking from personal experience it feels great to get into a pool after a hard workout. You feel absolutely peaceful as the water rushes over the sore muscles and loosens them up bit by bit. I find that it even mentally relaxing.
Pool parties were a hit as well. I would invite my friends over to swim and usually, we would make up different challenges. Eventually, that would dissolve and we would start splashing and roughhousing. I can remember a time when I had a bunch of my friends over and we went night swimming. It eventually turned from regular swimming into Marco polo and finally into one of the funniest games of truth or dare I have ever played.
One of the funniest events I can remember was when some friends of ours came over with their toddlers. He had a life jacket on so we had an idea. We turned on the swim jets and put him in front of them. Once we let go he shot across the pool. He was laughing the whole way.
My sister would have her friends over for her birthday parties and they spend all their time out in the pool (except to eat food but after that, they would jump right back into the pool). I can distinctly remember watching TV in my living room and I would hear a squeal of delight. I would look out and there they were splashing each other and talking amongst themselves. The only times they would get out was to either get food and drinks or when it was time for them to go. It was the same thing when my cousins would come down to visit. If they arrived in the morning or afternoon the order of events got the luggage out of the car, dig their swimsuits out of their suitcases, and go jump into the pool. The only times they got out of the pool were to use get drinks and eat lunch or dinner.
In short, a pool represents a place where friends and family can meet to relax and have fun.
Swimming pools are indeed enjoyable, however, one must think about the responsibilities of a pool before going to one or putting one in their backyard. In a neighborhood pool, there is always a safety and cleanliness issue. The safety issue you can control by being aware of your surroundings. Cleanliness, well, you have to hope that the companies taking care of the pool use the appropriate chemicals.
The level of responsibility jumps dramatically when you own and maintain your own pool. For example, I can remember one night the rain was coming down in sheets. The normal drainage wasn’t keeping up with the pouring rain. So my dad had to go out, in the middle of a thunderstorm, and use an additional pump so that the pool wouldn’t overflow. Additionally, he had to monitor the pump periodically so that it wouldn’t drain the water level too low.
Regular maintenance is required and can be costly and, at times, time-consuming. This includes such things as checking skimmer daily, cleaning the filter, manually skimming the pool, filling up the pool with the hose to compensate for the water that evaporates and, of course, balancing the chemicals (pH, hardness, etc). The use of chemicals is important as well to make sure the water is safe to swim in. We have an advantage in that our pool is cleaned by UV light so we don’t have to put as much chlorine in the pool. However, we have to make sure to balance the acidity of the water, apply the algae killer, and to balance the hardness of the water. There is also the issue of safety in the pool. I cannot stress enough that when you are swimming, especially when you are alone, you are aware of your surroundings. I can recall one time when I was swimming I wasn’t looking where I was going and I swam into a cement wall. When I surfaced and had gotten my breathing under control, I realized that I had blacked out underwater. I got lucky that I was out only for a few seconds but any longer I don’t know what would have happened.
Buying a pool must be well thought out. It is very important to weigh the risk vs. the reward. It is expensive, as you have to keep up with the maintenance costs as well as purchases for the right chemicals to clean the pool. It requires our time and energy daily to make sure the pool is safe to swim in. Plus, there are multiple safety hazards. However, I can tell you that having a gathering in a pool is a different kind of feeling. To me, nothing beats floating in the water talking, laughing, and joking with friends. Suddenly, someone else splashes someone and it all breaks down with everyone splashing each other with water. Then, when it is time to eat you and your friends sit down and resume the conversation you were having before the splashing started. Once in a while, I will get up and sit in a chair under the sun to feel the warmth and dry me off. As I lean back in the chair I can’t help but smile as I watch the rest of my friends swim and splash each other.
It is even fun for the parents because they get to watch us act like fools while their sitting talking about their families and, at least when we have gatherings, sports. A pool is an investment in your quality of life. It could pay off in the long run with the careful procedure but it could also be a failure. If a person doesn’t feel like they are ready to put forth the time and effort it takes to take care of a pool, they shouldn’t buy one. However, my family decided to buy one and we take the necessary steps to keep it clean and we keep up with its maintenance. I can say emphatically, that the cost of time and money involved in owning a pool has far outweighed by the joy it has helped bring our family.