Over the last few months, I’ve turned into a podcast freak:  Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss, Fat Burning Man, Bulletproof Radio, The Frog Bros., and on and on . . .  I often wonder if it’s tied into my Ironman training and an incessant quest to “get better” at everything.

But lately I’ve been more interested in “letting go” by overriding information with music.  Music is far more spiritual and healing than the justice-warriors taking over social media.*

The other day I was listening to Nashville’s Lightning 100 while daydreaming on a long, traffic-ridden drive back from nowhere.  Music filled my air-conditioned cabin, but I didn’t hear the lyrics until a line from the chorus of Leon Bridges‘ – “Better Man” caught my ear:

“To get back to your heart, I’d swim the Mississippi River if you’d give me another start, girl.”

Suddenly, my Ironman-justice-warrior was in overdrive and I’m not kidding when I say my first thought was, “There’s no way this dude could swim the Mississippi River.”

That is proof of many things, but mainly it is a frightening reminder of what Ironman training can do to your brain.  It just so happened I was driving over a Cumberland River bridge at the time and looked down at the daunting water and thought, “No fucking way can he do that.”

Then, I was like, “well, maybe he’s just talking about swimming across it at a really narrow point.”  But then I questioned my own rationale, “I don’t know though, I’ve spent a lot of time on the Mississippi and even a side-to-side is no joke!”

When the next chorus came around, I started feeling the soul in Leon’s voice and thought, “Maybe he could swim the Mississippi River.”  I mean, people say they’d climb mountains for a girl, and if he’s in good shape, which I’m assuming he is because he sings and breathes deeply, maybe, just maybe, with a strong current in his favor, he could at least swim far enough to get her attention and prove that he’s for real about this shit.  It’d wear him out though, and any designs of getting action that night would be a long shot . . . but in reality, he’s really only looking for a another start.

Regardless of whether or not Leon could swim the Mississippi River, he got my attention and I did a little digging.  I dove around his website and dude may or may not be a swimmer, but he is a legitimate package of raw soul.

He has a short film by rock photographer Danny Clinch called, “This is Home,” where Leon talks about carrying the torch of soul music and honoring those before him. The film, which takes him back to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas also states “In one year, Leon went from open mics to the global stage.” The beautifully shot piece even features how his impeccable style has been driven by Thrift store discoveries. But while there are several visuals and songs that reference rivers, nowhere is there a mention of swimming.

I really don’t know how any of this relates to Ironman training, but let’s just hope it reminds us that big dreams can happen – whether it’s climbing a mountain from the innocent beginnings of sprint triathlons and open mics, or the seemingly insurmountable quest to swim the Mississippi River.

* This is not a reference to the podcasts.

Follow Crushing Iron on Facebook and enjoy the sweet sounds of my new favorite swimmer and singer, Leon Bridges.  

Swimming the Mississippi River?



2 thoughts on “Swimming the Mississippi River?

  • July 10, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I live quite a bit further north than you on the Mississippi, but people swim across it and up and down segments of it on the regular around here. There is a pretty popular 2 mile swim across at Lake Pepin that my master’s swim group does every year.

    What I will say is that the further south you live, the less appetizing swimming in the ‘sip becomes. That water is dank down south.

    • July 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Where do you live on the Mississippi? I spent many a night on the river in LaCrosse back in my college days. I’d actually love to try it… the post was kind of a spoof, obviously… It’s a badass river, I know that much.

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