A few weeks ago I was taught how to dive by my friend, Danny Hinton, who is a divemaster at Blue Meridian Dive Center on Hwy 81 in Owensboro. Last Saturday, I got to exercise my newfound skills at the Center for a charity event called Underwater Monopoly--I'm the one in the white WBKR t-shirt. That's right, I got to pass "Go" and collect $200 several feet under water.

DIVE-OPOLY, NOT MON-OPOLY

It was a very cool set-up. There was a table on which the board was placed. It was magnetized. And I guess the pieces were, too. I got to be the race car; when I was growing up I was always saddled with the shoe. The money and deeds were laminated and attached to the table via clothespins. Oh, and by the way, we were playing "Dive-opoly" so all the names of various aspects of the original game were different. For example, "free parking" became "free air." Instead of going directly to jail, we went directly to the hyperbaric chamber. And "Community Chest" and "Chance" cards were now "Treasure Chest" and "Explorer." It was truly amazing how I forgot I was actually playing Monopoly...underwater! Seriously, we played for an hour, which flew by. And I had gotten so comfortable with it that when Danny tapped his watch indicating our hour was up and it was time to surface, I couldn't believe it.  The event began at 8am with different teams of four going down for an hour each to play a running game of Monopoly. Each team picked up where the previous one left off. Blue Meridian Dive Center owner Susan Oliver named the event "The Carl H. Oliver Scuba for Charity" for her grandfather who was a local diver. Each of the teams was representing a different charity and had garnered sponsorship to raise money for that charity. The event wrapped at 6pm with a total of ten teams having played. Divemaster Kevin Kirk shot the video footage.

WATER-LOGGED BUT WORTH IT

We all had a great time. And, personally, it's incredible how easily I adapted to being under water that long. I had one little issue when I scratched my forehead allowing water into my mask. I briefly forgot the procedure for removing it--you tilt your head back, lift the mask, and blow out through your nose--but after that, everything was fine. The cool thing is, I did it again later but remembered to breathe. When you're down there, you're always going to have air coming into your mouth. You just gotta keep your cool and everything will be just fine. And I did that the second time around. It was terrific. I mean, I can't think of a better way to participate in a charity event than to have this much fun doing it. Am I a certified diver? No, not yet. That takes a little more time and some more extensive diving. After all, I've only done it in swimming pools. But I've got the basics down. And now it's up to me to take the next step. And I plan on doing  just that.