Roberts: Swim team deserves a resolution

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

Well, it just happens that swimming is on my mind! Oh, yeah, you say at almost 84 years old? You must be crazy, ole woman! Could be, but the subject of “swimming” is bringing back some Amazing 60’s Memories, and I’m enjoying every remembrance: The A Montz Pond. Camp Memory. Lake Pontchartrain. Memories that echo “Let’s go swimming!”

Read this and feel young again! Enjoy your memories and be reminded that your footprints are still visible today.

The A MONTZ POND: Yes, swimming is on my mind! Kids just want to play in the water! Big kids may take it a step further, but a pond of water is the greatest gift a kid can have. Now, who recalls The A MONTZ POND with its “well-organized” swim team? Yep, it was just through the woods from Godchaux Community.

Or, down a cane row from Airline Highway near where an empty school now stands. It was a nasty little water hole surrounded by bushes that became clothes lines for naked-butt underwear, which was quickly forfeited to the elements as soon as Mr. A. Montz could be heard coming down the cane row in his Model A.

Charles, Phillip, Wayne, Archie, Gene, E.J., Tommy, White Bean, Hooter, Chuck, Mike, and who else? Regrettably, Tommy and Philip are no longer with us. Once, because the Jones boys’ dad, State Trooper Buck, could not account for his boys’ underwear, he and his friend drove to The A Montz Pond and it was said that Buck nearly choked as he said, “My God, Mr. Roberts, it looks like it snowed on them bushes!” I am wondering today as I write who else had underwear hanging from those bushes? Just curious!

CAMP MEMORY: A big rope hung from an overhanging tree inviting breath-taking jumps.

Swimming. Water skiing. Ski Jumps. Fishing. Picnicking. What a group! Wish I could remember who they were.

SO, WHAT ABOUT SWIMMING? All of you from those Amazing 60’s should now know that you and the events imbedded in my memory led to your proving how valuable those growing-up lessons learned at A Montz Pond, Camp Memory, the boxing club by Fobb’s Shoe Shop, etc., were for you and your buddy Tommy who went on to become a Navy Seal, deep sea diver, and AAU & Golden Gloves champ before his untimely death.

Well, my concern today is that I have a little Tommy, age 6, whom I have been blessed to care for since he was 8 months old, who is the grandson of your old friend Tommy Roberts. Little Tommy was taught to swim this summer by a great coach at the Belle Terre Swim Club and was put on the team.

What a proud moment for me! Never mind that little Tommy happily placed last most of the time, but he didn’t get kicked off the team. I kept telling his coach, “He’s going to be like his grandfather and he will become a great swimmer!”

SO, NOW THE PROBLEM: A swimming future for little Tommy and many others like him just disappeared. Bam!

Just like that! And there seems to be no logical reason! I’m referring to Belle Terre Swim Team’s getting kicked out of the swim league. Was it because Tommy couldn’t swim fast enough yet? In time he will because I see in Coach Blaine many of the fine qualities that we saw in little Tommy’s grandfather, who helped so many of you learn to swim, water ski, dive, box, wrestle, etc.

I am known as a parent who beginning in 1957 contributed readily and willingly toward keeping this a desirable place for son Tommy and sister Sharon Jenkins to live and attend school.

Remember Leon Godchaux PTA and its 1st Career Day, the wonderful presentation of “Oklahoma,” Sugar Queen activities, etc? So, surprise! At near age 84, instead of being at Twin Oaks, you find me at swim practice, swim meets and now attempting to help find resolution to a situation that has the potential of negatively affecting many of our local youngsters.

What’s going to happen to my little Tommy’s team now? I can’t imagine that his team disrespected or assaulted anyone. But, if so, was anyone notified of or reprimanded for any infraction?

And, after all, we aren’t still in the 60’s and should be more adept at handling conflict resolution than the neighborhood groups that apparently used common sense to keep it all together back then. When an issue that can negatively affect a whole community is brewing, there just has to be a 2014 approach that would avert it and lead to a satisfactory resolution.

First and foremost, whoever is in leadership, absolutely, must talk. “Gripes” within any organization, including a family, must first be verbalized — then acted on sensibly with all pettiness put aside for the greater good of all; in this case, youngsters with no voice.

I’m wondering, since we are ALL human, is this perhaps the result of something petty — something even the 1960’s group would have settled without disrupting the aspirations of others? Just think about it! This IS monumental and IS traumatic!

And it certainly will not make for amazing memories 50 years from now. How sad!

I am therefore personally asking anybody, anywhere, who can be instrumental in rectifying this unfortunate situation to please step up as soon as possible and help negotiate whatever is in the best interest of these youngsters, their parents and their swim team.

Iris J. Roberts has lived in LaPlace for more than 60 years. Email her at