A True Holiday Story About How One Coach Changed a Boy’s Life Forever

PHOENIX, Arizona, December 25. WE ran this story last year and received many touching comments. We decided to reprint it again as we all look for deeper meanings in our life during this time of year. Listen to Swimming World Radio as we share with you an inspirational story from a retired police officer who once worked as a swimming instructor in an economically-deprived area of Toledo, Ohio.

The story is about how swimming turned a young boy's life around. It happened in Toledo, Ohio at the Toledo Boys Club back in 1959. All the boys in the area were poor. It cost them 25 cents for a year's membership. If they couldn't afford that, they were given a free membership.

Many of us lose track of the life lessons that swimming teaches, and the confidence that is gained from mastering the sport. This story really puts it all in perspective and demonstrates the impact that coaches can have on youth.

Bob Morrissey is the author of this true story. The name of the individual has been changed. Bob gave us permission to read this story, that will be published in his upcoming book called Humorous Beat – Actual Funny Police Stories.

Click the Swimming World Radio button on the right to listen or download it to your MP3 player.

Bob Morrissey also shared this footnote about the Toledo Boys Club:

A woman one day came to the club and she said her husband passed away and he was a great musician. She donated a lot of musical instruments. We didn't have a music director and couldn't afford to hire one. I didn't want the horns and drums to go to waste, so I thought I would have some fun. Before the movie we had every week, I passed out the horns and drums to some of the kids at random. I then made an announcement to the boys waiting for the movie. "We are lucky we have our own band." I went one, two, three and those kids made so much noise with those horns and drums that my fillings almost came out of my teeth. Every week after that, the band was more popular than the movie. Those were some good memories, and put smiles on those poor kids. It was funny after I joined the police department I had to walk a beat on skid row. This is where the boys club was located. The kids saw me walking, and there must of been 25 of them walking with me. I had to stop them, because they were going in the bars and pointing at the men sitting at the bar and yelling for me to come in and arrest them because they were drunk. It was a great time of my life.