Candid Portrait of an Athlete
Athlete exhausted 10-year-old Anthony after his first water-polo match last month  --  Namihaya Dome (なみはやドーム)  --  Kadoma, Osaka, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 290mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
exhausted 10-year-old Anthony after his first water-polo match last month

Anthony is a strong swimmer.

According to my blog, he could play in the water by himself four years ago (and also here).

Still, as seen in “Little Fish”, as recent as two years ago that level of skill was only enough to get him to “level 8” at the swimming school where he's taken lessons for years; new students who have never been in the water start at “13”, going up to expert swimmers at “1”.

He's really progressed quickly of late; now he's a the “special” level beyond “1”. This rapid advance is likely because for the last year, he's been in a water-polo club at a different school.

It was an exciting joy to see him at his first real water-polo match last month; we were so proud of him. In real water polo, you're not allowed to stand on the bottom of the pool, so you're treading water the whole time, but the pool at his school is too shallow for that kind of real practice, so I'm sure the first real match was a shock in many ways, including needing to tread water for so long while exerting yourself athletically. (I didn't know much about water polo prior to all this, but it's an exceedingly aggressive contact sport, closer to my image of rugby than soccer.)

The mild challenge on my part was getting good photos through the steamy glass that separated the viewing area from the pool, but the shot above, of an exhausted Anthony walking past after the match, just hits me right in the heart. My little boy is growing up. This photo seems to be the next step from “Tipping Point” three years ago.

And of course, it calls to mind “Hunk” from when he was three.

Continued here...

All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Very cool looking Anthony!

— comment by Nicolas on February 14th, 2013 at 10:07pm JST (11 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

This struck me too, though I seem to remember similar looks as he came in after hours of playing hard in the snow when you were here in December. Beautiful child.
He looks so much like you did at the same age. You were a strong swimmer also. And I, too, marvel at how quickly the years streak by as I look at photos of you.
Enjoy him while you can. Before you know it he will be on the the other side of the world from you and you’ll be reduced to looking for pictures of him on the Internet.

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on February 15th, 2013 at 12:25am JST (11 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Teenage children can be very self conscious and Anthony is not far from that age. These charming family pictures (recent and from over the last few years) are nice for everyone to see but Anthony may not see it that way in a year or two’s time. I hope that although you are very proud of him that you allow him a veto of what pictures of him you put in the public domain.

How incredibly rude to just assume I’m so clueless. What on Earth makes you assume I haven’t already been doing that for years? —Jeffrey

— comment by John Youngs on February 16th, 2013 at 5:00am JST (11 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Go Anthony! (great photo, too — he looks like swimmer, alright)

— comment by Shawn on February 16th, 2013 at 10:34am JST (11 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I did not mean to be offensive. Here in Britain there is almost paranoia about posting pictures of young family members on line. I was writing from that perspective.

— comment by John Youngs on February 17th, 2013 at 4:34am JST (11 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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