Tampa, St. Pete, Pinellas Park Pool Season: In Praise of the Pools

In these chaotic days of potato salad, it’s hard to find a single destination where everyone has Something in common. Our differences reign online, at Home Depot, in the sports arenas where a lone Toronto Maple Leafs fan slipped in and forgot to go home.

A place does exist, however, sacred ground where everyone is in the same, uh, boat. Well, we got off the boat. We are actually in the water. Everyone takes a big, hot bath together, which is overwhelming when you think about it too much.

This is the community pool; damp, crowded, refreshing and miserable at the same time. Tampa Bay is filled with beloved municipal watering holes, from the Roy E. Jenkins Pool in Tampa to the Childs Park Pool in St. Petersburg to the Skyview Pool in Pinellas Park, and so on. They run with people who just don’t have a pool at home. That’s it. That’s what we have in common.

Related: Tampa Bay splash pads, public pools offer cheap ways to cool off

Don’t have a swimming pool That’s why my family visited the Highlander Pool in Dunedin this weekend. If I had $60,000 lying around, I would have rolled around the garden like a manatee with a goblet of rosé mixed with Sprite, rolling, rolling, rolling until my face hit the water. Alas, no swimming pool! So we loaded up half the contents of the house as if we were embarking on an archaeological dig, paid $3 per person, and collapsed on the concrete slab.

Visiting clean and safe public pools staffed with incredibly cool and fit teenage lifeguards reminds us that our society is still functioning, at least a little. You know? Like we still have shared spaces where everyone participates to reap the benefits, even if that means staring at weird hairs and getting passive-aggressive stares at shaded picnic tables. These pools signify civility and deserve praise.

In honor of community pool season, I’d like to perform a rhythmic poem based on things I heard at the pool last weekend. He is intitulated : MARCO. Please, if you could accompany me. One one and one two and…




Do not run!



I know you like talking to Blake, but it’s time to clean up.

You have to get out. You must take a ten-minute break. No, I said get out. No, not “hold on”. Dry off. Go on. Make an effort. The sunscreen really has to stick to… Oh, for the love of… just give me the towel.

*whispers* polo shirt

This is cheating. You cheated. Mom, she cheated. She cheated, mom. Mom, she cheated.

Is it a… oh, no, it’s a bandage.


double whistle

Do not jump!

We have to leave. No, not in five minutes. Now. Okay, in five minutes.

The kids will sleep well tonight!

Oh, are they? Do you want to take them?

triple whistle

No cannonballs!

Is that… a wet potato chip? What is that? Leave him. Do not touch.

We must have a swimming pool. How much would it cost to… Oh, wow, really? No, this pool is fine.


polo. polo. polo.

Related: This Summer in Florida, Beware of Wet Families
Related: Read more Stephanie Hayes columns

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