Letter to the Editor: Support Malibu Marlins

Letter to the Editor: The Malibu Times

Dear Editor,

A few decades ago, I joined the Malibu Masters swimming program at the pool. My husband started coming with me, and we’ve been doing it together for many years — we love it.

After our house burned down in the Woolsey Fire, we had to drop out of Masters for awhile. We were living in a trailer on our property while we rebuilt our house. We would come to the pool for lap swim whenever we could. We often came when the swim workouts were going on for the swim team. We started noticing the coach and the way he ran the program and dealt with the kids. I’m a retired teacher. I taught elementary school for over 20 years, mostly in Malibu. Our four children participated in the Junior Lifeguard Program for many summers and they all played soccer at the highest level. Needless to say, we’ve observed the best and the worst in coaches and teachers and everything in between.

It’s important to know the subject or skill you are teaching; it’s important to have personal experience in what you are teaching; its important to be able to work with kids; but it’s most important to have good character, because we teach who we are. And, of course, we all want the best people teaching and coaching our children. It’s very rare to find someone with all of these qualities and when we do, we try with all our might to hang on to them.

After our house was finished, our good friend, Kevin Webb encouraged us to rejoin Malibu Masters. We’ve been swimming with Erik Ran for over a year now and it’s great to be back.

I’m sending this letter for two reasons. One, because, selfishly I love having Erik as a Masters coach.
Second, and most important, I want to support the kids and families. I don’t have any of my own kids in this program right now, but after teaching hundreds of kids in Malibu, I feel like our community’s kids are my kids too. And, as we get older, I’m sure you’d agree with me that our greatest legacy, the only legacy that really matters, is our children.

In fifth grade I was in a terrible car accident. I recovered, and in sixth grade, I learned how to swim. I will always be grateful for my first coach. A good teacher or coach can make a huge difference in a child’s life. When I learned how to swim, my life changed.

I want the children in our community to have the same gift I got as a child. Let’s do this for them. It’s not hard. We already have a coach that checks all the boxes and is supported by the majority of this swim community and now we have an organization that will function the way that majority wants it to. What are we waiting for? What more does the city need? Right now, the kids who want to swim with their coach, Erik, are being forced to swim at 6:30 in the morning before school. Many who want to can’t swim at that time. These children and families are being held hostage by a stubborn bureaucratic system that is hiding behind rules and regulations. Too much precious time has already passed. Can we please get these kids some lanes at a decent time to swim with their coach? Go Marlins!

Patti Mehring, Malibu