The holidays are fast approaching and it looks like I might end up on the “naughty” list again — the list of procrastinators who put off holiday shopping until the last minute. It’s not that I’m a “bah humbug” kind of guy. It’s just that when it comes to gift giving, I want to give each member of my family a gift they’ll truly enjoy.

As I considered my “present” situation (sorry, bad pun) my thoughts somehow wandered to a recent dive trip. Part of our group included a man and his two teenage sons. The man, in his late forties, told me how happy he is that he introduced his sons to the sport of scuba diving recently. He’s confident it’s an activity he and his sons can enjoy together for many years to come. And he’s right; diving can be a lifelong pursuit, a sport we can actively participate in for as long as we stay healthy. 
I played baseball well into my college years, and I have a real passion for the game. But these days I’m more suited to the way, way outfield — as in the stadium seats —  than I am to a position on a team. Even though I’d love to play on a baseball team, the reality is that my ‘mature” body just isn’t up to it.
But I can still dive. And not just dive, but dive hard. Even on live-aboard trips I rarely miss a dive. I am not ashamed to sit one out, but I rarely do. This is an aspect of diving that I have truly come to appreciate. I’m still very much “in the game” as a diver. And I intend to remain that way for many years to come.
When I first got certified I don’t think I ever gave any consideration to the idea that diving was something I could do for the rest of my life. I just wanted to explore the underwater world. But almost four decades later as I realize how many other activities have come and gone in my life, I see how lucky I am to be a diver. Scuba diving has been my connection to nature and to a community of people that share my passion. What more can one ask from a sport?
With the gift-giving season upon us, I don’t think there is a better gift that any of us can give our friends or loved ones than scuba lessons. As you ponder what gifts to give this holiday season may I suggest that you consider giving someone in your life a scuba class at a nearby dive center. I bet they will be sincerely grateful for many, many years to come.
Happy Holidays from all of us at California Diving News.