WHO: One brave little girl on the diving board and a crowd full of supporters cheering her on.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: When the video starts, the little girl is already at the edge of the diving board. She’s wearing a pink bathing suit, and you can tell she wants to jump: She crouches, gets ready, and then—nope, not yet. She stands back up and looks down again. Jumping into a pool for the first time is scary. There are some people in the audio of the recording who seem to be shouting encouragement, and on the left side of the screen, you can see a woman who’s guiding her through the process—crouch, then jump! The woman jumps in, and the little girl watches. When the woman emerges safely to the surface, the girl finally accepts that she can do this, and jumps into the water—and the crowd loses it. Onlookers thrust their arms into the sky in a roar of joy, as they’ve become invested in her emotional journey from timid swimmer to brave diver. Waitt pans the camera across the hill on the south side of Barton Springs, as seemingly everyone applauds. When the camera pans back over to the diving board, the woman presents the little girl, Simba-like, to her adoring fans, and the video ends, 45 seconds into a perfect summer day in Austin.
The “keep it weird”-ism of Austin sometimes plays out in frustrating ways, as cars sometimes drive ten miles under the speed limit for no good reason, concerts start hours later than in other Texas cities, and if you don’t get in line for BBQ at dawn, you might as well eat a McRib. But the city’s laid-back attitude also has its good points. Nobody at Barton Springs was in a hurry that day: The little girl was slowing down the line for a minute, sure, but it’s not like there’s a shortage of hot days or cold water to jump into, so why stress out about it? Instead, a couple hundred good-natured strangers came together to let a little girl know that she should be proud of herself for taking a plunge for the first time, even though it’s a scary thing to do. Here’s hoping that she has a whole lot of fun at the pool in the next few months, and that the friendly, encouraging attitude that the city showed her remains a big part of what makes Austin so great—especially in the summertime.