Everybody remembers their first belly whacker.
It happened at the Fitzroy baths back in the 1960s, when I dived into the pool almost horizontally and my belly hit the water first.
My guts felt like they had exploded, I doubled up in pain and sank below the surface. I eventually surfaced and somehow got out of the pool holding my stomach, which had turned a deep lobster red.
And it was not funny.
Though when some other ‘unco’ kid did a belly whacker, that was funny. You’d hear the whack and the scream, followed by a one or two word curse.
And when your mate did a belly whacker that was especially satisfying. You could stir him up for days on end.
A belly whacker from the side of the pool was painful, but a belly wacker from a diving board looked excruciating. I was lucky to learn my lesson diving from the side of the pool and not from a diving board.
I miss swimming at the Fitzroy baths, but I definitely don’t miss a belly whacker.