Sunday, January 5, 2014
A Beautiful Story of Cause and Effect
National Open Water Swimming Champion of his age group in Cartagena, Bolivar Colombia on November 2013.
Winner of various categories in the Golden Dolphin International Tournament in Cali, Colombia on August 2013
I would like to share the story of Alonso Moreno, my swimming coach, who’s story I like to believe is a clear example of how the universe works in mysterious ways.
Alonso was born in Cali Colombia. He developed a deep interest in sports from a very young age. Alonso became a member of the soccer team of his school as well as the local neighborhood team. His love for self improvement and competition led him to stand out from others. With merely 7 years of age Alonso Moreno had found his passion.
One day when he was around 14 years old, he found himself playing a spontaneous soccer match with his friends. Unfortunately, the game was cut short because the owner of the only ball available to them had to go to his swimming class. Faced with unavoidable boredom, Alonso tried to convince him to leave the ball under his care but his friend denied and instead invited Alonso to his swimming class. This swimming class was located in the olympic pools of Cali.
In the swimming class, kids were preparing for the Valle del Cauca Water Polo Team tryouts. Alonso’s friend invited him to stay and swim with him and the others. Not having anything else to do he willingly accepted.
Unaware of it, Alonso’s path in life changed. He started swimming by what some people call “chance.”
His swimming abilities were very limited but he kept practicing until he was able to swim across the entire olympic pool. He often got nervous thinking he was not going to make it across this seemingly eternal pool but he kept on improving.
When the time for the tryouts came, Alonso was still unsure of his swimming skills. Fearful of not having something to hang on to in case of an emergency, he asked the kid from Bogota in the lane next to the wall to switch places with him.
The time limit to cross the entire pool was 40 seconds. Unfortunately, Alonso made it in 48 seconds, 8 seconds short to make the cut. Defeated, he knew he had no chance to make it on the team and went home.
The next day, Alonso’s friend came to his house to pick him up. The first thing that came out of his mouth when he saw Alonso was that he had made it!
Confused Alonso later understood how lucky he had been to make it into the team. When Alonso changed lanes with the kid from Bogota right before the tryouts this change was not made official. The kid from Bogota, whom by the way had made the cut, swam in the lane corresponding to Alonso and Alonso swam on the lane corresponding to the kid from Bogota. This kid from Bogota could not enter the team because he was going back to his hometown very soon. So he did not do anything about the mix up.
Alonso had experience being a team player and had good performance. His qualities shone through making him popular amongst his fellow team members. His skills in the water kept improving but his swimming speed revealed what truly had happened the day of the tryouts. When the second speed check came around, Alonso felt he had to come clean when his coach addressed his slower speed. Luckily after Alonso came clean, his coach took in to account his good performance so far and didn't let the tryouts mix up affect his decisions. On the contrary he sympathized with Alonso’s peculiar story, so from then on the coach helped him and supported him in every practice.
From that point on, the swimming league and the various team sponsors paid his food and other necessities. Just like that his passion for sports became his profession.
He had the privilege to travel and represent Colombia in various competitions.
Another incredibly lucky event happened to Alonso by what we will continue calling “chance.” This event took place during a South American tournament in Brazil in which he attended as an alternate.
The uniform that was assigned to him was a little too big. Hence, walking around the pool made the bottom of his pants wet. Frustrated by that icky feeling on his legs, he took his pants off and sat on the substitutes bench on his swimming shorts and uniform hoodie.
Suddenly, one of the swimmers needed replacement. The coach quickly looked at the substitute bench. Incidentally, Alonso was the only one looking ready with his pants off. Without giving it a second thought the coach picked him. Having this great chance to prove himself, Alonso gave it his all. His team ended up winning with his help. This bold move made him one of the main members of the water polo team at 18 years of age in 1974.
With his newfound love for water polo and his dedication, Alonso enjoyed many years of fascinating and enriching experiences, travels, triumphs, and defeats. He met a beautiful lady from the colombian synchronized swimming league whom he married and had two daughters with.
Alonso retired in 1988 after 14 years of playing professional water polo. Two years later he and his family decided to move to the United States with the purpose of giving their daughters a better future. Both Alonso and his wife passed on their love for swimming to their two daughters. They became excelling swimmers and are currently in the Florida International University, FIU, swimming team.
Alonso enrolled in the Miami Dade College to study accounting. One day Alonso was in a rush to get to class and could not find parking. Once again by “chance” he found a parking space in a different area where he discovered the Kendall campus pool.
Alonso had been retired for over 12 years, but this did not interfere with his blinding desire to train in the water once again.
It was in this very same pool where he met Jorge Voll, pool director, whom later offered Alonso a job as a lifeguard in that very same pool. After that, it was only a matter of time until he was offered a job as a full time lifeguard on the beaches of Miami in 2001.
His extensive experience in the water and good physical condition helped him pass all the physical tests required to be a lifeguard. Once again with seemingly effortless luck he was getting payed to do what he loved the most.
For a decade he trained tirelessly to keep up with his lifeguard performance check ups as well as formal competitions within fellow lifeguards in which he would often score highest.
In 2012 he qualified amongst the first group of swimmers in the Escape to Miami Triathlon. He also kept on practicing water polo.
Alonso is a genuine autodidact. He perfected his water polo techniques and taught himself long distance swimming. He studied and found the perfect angles and moves to effortlessly glide on the water without fighting against the current and advance rapidly.
Today, Alonso continues to be a lifeguard. He enjoys his job where he has saved an innumerable amount of lives. He dedicates himself to train and starts at the crack of dawn. Occasionally he shares his knowledge with a hand full of students, amongst these lucky ones me. He agrees to teach only if you really are willing to learn from the heart.
I am immensely grateful to Alonso for teaching me everything I know about swimming. I started learning only two years and a half ago and I was terrified of the water. Regardless of my limitations Alonso went patiently step by step with me. He taught me how to swim correctly and also showed me how swimming could be a way of meditation and a therapy to treat my existing condition of fibromyalgia.
Today I can proudly say that I am able to complete an ironman triathlon all thanks to Alonso.
From his lifeguard tower, Alonso gazes at his beloved deep blue sea and enjoys the fact that he can swim every day and any time he wants. Alonso unpretentiously experiences genuine happiness.
This story teaches us how Alonso’s deep vocation was shaped through time by many experiences and coincidental scenarios. Coincidences that were not merely coincidences but more like perfectly outlined paths in a universe of possibilities. The path meant for him was carved by the desires deep within his heart and his actions were powered by his love for sports and swimming. This law of attraction brought about a perfect plan to accomplish his ultimate purpose in life.
If you would like to find your path remember the forces of the universe can not hear words, or mundane wishes inspired by society. The universe listens to your inner most wishes and emotions. According to these wishes our paths are formed and presented to us. Sometimes the signs we are yearning for are disguised as difficulties. Its simply a matter of aligning your inner most desires with your thoughts and actions.
In Alonso’s case swimming became his greatest talent. Unconsciously, with his actions he brought about events that shaped his life and guided him in the right path. This is what I like to call living a life of cause and effect.
This is a wonderful example of a person who followed his passion with dedication and persistence without regard for shallow short term results.
If you follow your inner calling, enjoy it, and practice it with pure love and dedication, you will find that it is the only thing you will need in life. The rest will come to you on its own.
Relentlessly follow your heart’s inner most wishes. The universe will always provide.
Translated and edited by: Estefanny Espitia
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