Praise For Passion

Lindsay Renick Mayer spent the summer at AQUA Magazine as an intern and ably stepped in as a full member of the AQUA editorial team. She entered Northwestern University's prestigious Medill School of Journalism in September. — Ed.

Journalism is passion. Or, more precisely, it is a means to explore whatever people are passionate about — whether it be legislation on hate crime, new theories about black holes or the most innovative designs in the pool and spa industry. Journalists become mini-experts on an eclectic mix of topics, sometimes having to do with worlds they never knew existed. When I began my internship at AQUA Magazine, with the exception of the occasional dip in a hotel pool, I had never been exposed to the pool and spa industry. But after three months with the magazine, I learned that your field, too, has a lot to do with passion.

Your dedication is evident in a variety of ways. I came into this job basically believing that building a pool was as simple as digging a hole, pouring some concrete and filling it with water. But my conversations with builders quickly revealed that the process is far more complicated — that many of you approach the work as artists, carefully considering the landscape and skillfully crafting a unique masterpiece that looks and even sounds beautiful. It was fascinating to discover Picassos and Frank Lloyd Wrights in a place I never would have imagined to look.

In addition to artistic expression, your passion also seems to translate into charitable work. I learned about pool builders donating entire pools to raise money for the American Cancer Society, organizations using their time and money to prevent drowning, and pool chemical companies working to preserve the environment. Not only are these actions admirable in any field, I think that they demonstrate how an industry can draw on the very nature of its work to uniquely contribute to society in an altruistic way.

I also encountered numerous people in the industry who are excited to help those of us outside the industry, though in a different way. Builders, technicians, manufacturers and retailers were all excited to talk to me, to tell me about their work, to patiently help me understand how a pool filter works or what particular chemicals can do for a spa. If this eagerness to teach the non-expert extends to customer service, I'm sure there are a whole lot of satisfied swimmers out there.

To be artistic, to use your work to help others, even to provide excellent customer service, you must have a certain amount of pride in your work. I thank you for convincing me that every industry is full of individuals who enjoy their work and who are consistently striving to do better. As my path as a journalism student leads me away from the pool and spa industry, my experiences in the past few months will serve as a reminder to keep an open mind about unfamiliar topics, because there is probably inspiration there. In the end, this just makes me even more passionate and excited about my chosen career.

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