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With the Opening Day for D.C. pools fast approaching, the big questions are starting to be raised for Mayor Adrian Fenty: The queries don’t have to do with whether residents will be charged admission to swim or if the Department of Parks and Recreation will have enough money for summer programs.
The pressing issue involves a cannonball. The cannonball dive, that is.
One of the biggest media days of the year for Fenty’s predecessor, Mayor Anthony A. Williams, was his annual cannonball dive (pictured) that marked the official opening of the city pool season. The former mayor violated one of the golden rules of politics every time he took the plunge: never take off your shirt with the cameras running. Williams didn’t shy away from displaying his physique. Over his eight years in office he took it off to reveal his various states of physical fitness each year.
Just before his last dive at the Turkey Run Recreation Center in 2006, Williams said he would like his successor to continue the tradition. And with a super-fit Fenty in the executive suite, supporters of the cannonball tradition figured they’d all get to see some kind of a Fenty beefcake routine.
But the mayor has yet to shy away from dumping tradition. New and different has been his catchphrase since the day he mounted a run for the city’s top office. The cannonball—-that was a Williams’ thing—-and he has no plan to repeat the former mayor’s stunt.
That doesn’t mean Fenty isn’t planning a pool party. The official opening is scheduled for June 25. And he isn’t ruling out a cannonball for the kick off—-so long as the diver is a member of the media. “I was going to [dive],” Fenty told the radio audience of WAMU-FM’s The D.C. Politics Hour With Kojo and Jonetta on May 25. “but [WRC-TV reporter] Tom Sherwood actually says he’s going to do it.”
Not so fast, Sherwood shoots back. “I would do it, but someone would have to offer up some cash,” he says. “For $5,000, I’ll do it.”
Sherwood isn’t contemplating a lucrative new career in professional athletics. But he does want his dive to produce something more than a good laugh. “I will ask the person to donate the money to a charity of my choosing,” he says. “Everything has a price.”