A Hypothetical Evening at Dinner For the Four Strokes

Daiya Seto of Japan competes in the 200m Breaststroke Men Final during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 16th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

A Hypothetical Evening at Dinner For the Four Strokes

The four strokes in swimming walk into a restaurant: Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Butterfly hops, skips, and wiggles its way through the rusted door. Backstroke, oddly enough, walks backward. Breaststroke propels itself through a window into a booth seat. Freestyle walks in like it owns the place.

Below, you will find an incredibly abstract portrayal of how I believe the four strokes (if they were people) would enjoy an evening of fine dining from a first person point of view. I will provide no explanations as to why I think it would play out this way. These stories are generated by vibes only. Don’t read into it so hard, little swimmers! Simply enjoy. I hope you find it to be entertaining.

Butterfly

I walk through the door — no, I sashay through the door, shoulders and hips swiveling with every step I take. I scan the room, as an incredibly observational individual like myself would do. The dining area? Packed. The dance floor? Packed. The bathroom? Shoot, it’s packed. I really have to pee.

I decide to hold it, like the absolute powerhouse that I am, and prance to a table in the center of the room. There’s an obvious line of people waiting to be seated at the front, but I pretend I don’t notice. I have way more street credit than those losers. And voila, just as I expected, I’m served immediately.

I order a 12-ounce steak and rice. Asparagus on the side, but they aren’t prepared the way I like so I don’t eat them. I don’t accept things that aren’t perfection. I work my ass off, and for what? For some crummy asparagus? Not on my watch.

I observe my surroundings. Laughter decorates the air, dishes clank together, people sip their drinks and envelope one another in warm embraces prior to their departure. It’s all phony. So out of touch with reality. If they knew about even half of what I go through, they wouldn’t be smiling so much. Laughing so much.

I scoff and take a bite of my steak.

Backstroke

Life is pretty strange when you view it from a different angle. I see everything that I wouldn’t normally see if my head was turned the other way. I see everything that “normal,” front-facing people miss when their head is turned the “correct” way.

I walk in through the door backwards. I greet everyone backward. I sit at a hightop table backward.

The waiter arrives after a pleasant amount of time. Not too quickly, not too slowly. He is confused when he sees me facing the opposite direction.

“I’ll take a water,” I say with a toothy grin. Although I’m not sure if he noticed I was smiling. I’m not even sure if he heard my order at all.

The waiter scratches his head and backs away slowly. I can hear the rest of the restaurant buzzing, but all I can see is this red leather seat cushion.

It’s a nice seat cushion.

Breaststroke

THE SIRENS. ARE BLARING. THE SIRENS ARE BLARING.

AND THE ENTIRE POLICE ACADEMY IS LOOKING TO LOCK ME UP. FOR LIFE.

I NEED TO HIDE. SOMEWHERE.

ANYWHERE.

I THROW MY HEAD TO THE LEFT. NOTHING.

I THROW MY HEAD TO THE RIGHT. NOTHING.

I PULL A 180. AAAAAAND BOOM. RESTAURANT.

I HOP, SKIP, AND JUMP TOWARD IT. THE POLICE TELL ME TO FREEZE.

WHY. ON. EARTH. WOULD. I. FREEZE???!!!!???!?!?!?!?!?

I THROW MYSELF THROUGH A WINDOW OF THE RESTAURANT. I DIVE STRAIGHT THROUGH IT. GLASS SHATTERS EVERYWHERE. TIME FREEZES. IT’S SUPER DRAMATIC. STRAIGHT OUT OF AN ACTION MOVIE.

I sit at a table and order a Diet Dr. Pepper.

Freestyle

I enter the restaurant of choice for the evening. I fully expect it to fall short of exceeding my expectations, like my restaurant experiences typically do, as I am pretty hard to please. Nobody is at the front to greet me, or seat me, or even ask for my autograph. Weird.

There’s a bell right by the register, paired with a sign that reads, “Ring for service.” I ring it, and nothing.

I ring it again. Still nothing.

I start ringing it to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb. It’s been stuck in my head for so gosh darn long. A person in line behind me nudges me with a smile, and starts dancing like an idiot.

Before I can blink, the entire restaurant has caught onto my tune! Everyone abandons their meals and conversations to dance and clap to the beat. Punk rock, dude!

What was once a boring, bland, run-of-the-mill restaurant scene has transformed into a freakin dance party. I tend to have that effect on people, you know. I dust off my shoulders and lower my sunglasses to scan the room.

I see butterfly in a corner, scoffing and eating steak for some reason. I see Backstroke … backward. I see Breaststroke sipping a Diet Dr. Pepper under a table. And I see everybody else having the time of their lives, chanting a children’s tune.

I still haven’t received service from the restaurant staff, but I decide that I no longer need to. My work here is done.

I put my sunglasses back on and exit the restaurant.

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Kathleen Kinsey
Kathleen Kinsey
1 year ago

OMG this is hilarious!! Freestyle is genius 🙂 well done!! Coach KK

Kathleen Kinsey
Kathleen Kinsey
1 year ago

wait till I act this out in front of my swimmers …..

CathyTX
CathyTX
11 months ago

I started out a breaststroker and now work for Keurig Dr Pepper – and drink more than my fair share of Diet Dr Pepper so thought that was amazing. But there is no period after the Dr since it’s not a real doctor. Fun article!

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