Celtics forward Brandon Bass is used to excelling at almost everything he does. However, in the shallow end of the Boston Sports Club swimming pool in Waltham, he has had to start from scratch. On Sept. 27, the star player, who never learned how to swim, began taking lessons with 10 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.
Bass, 28, says he is taking the lessons so that he can better enjoy the time he spends in the off-season with his family in Orlando. But his willingness to face his fears head on highlights a larger issue: Black and Hispanic children are much less likely to learn how to swim than their white peers. And many parents who themselves don't know how to swim are afraid to give their kids lessons. The results are often tragic. Bass cites the childhood drowning of a neighbor his age as a reason why he never learned to swim.
His good example should encourage others who don't know how to swim to take the plunge, regardless of their age. Bass has shown that it is never too late to learn an important life skill, and other parents — and kids — should follow his lead.