The prospect of moving from the Valley to a small town meant just one thing to Rim Country Middle School seventh-grader Greg Lords no diving program.
When it happened seven months ago, Lords asked his mother, Carol Hatch, a simple question: Why?
"I tried to tell him about small towns and everything, but he's a diver and wants to eventually get a diving scholarship to pay for his college education," Hatch said.
While the outdoor pool at Rumsey Park has a conventional diving board, Lords dives from a three-meter board, the likes of which does not exist in the Rim country, at least as far as Hatch knows.
Fortunately, she came up with a solution that allowed her to move her family to Payson and marry her high school sweetheart while still permitting Lords to pursue his passion.
"I have a son who still lives in Mesa and has children Greg's age, so he spent weekdays this summer living with them," Hatch said.
That allowed him to continue his lessons and training, and to compete in meets. Last month, he took the silver medal in the 11- and 12-year-olds diving competition at the City of Mesa tournament, and also took first place in his division championships.
Now, with school in session, Lords is once again a full-time Rim country resident, and is actively involved in both cross country and football. But even without a three-meter board and cooler weather looming just ahead, he'll be able to keep his diving legs during the off-season by practicing "day-in and day-out" on the trampoline in his back yard.
Diving has long been a tradition in her family, Hatch said.
"It all started when my niece got into it and started giving lessons," she said. "I have seven children, and they all took lessons from her, but Greg is the most dedicated. He absolutely lives and breathes diving in the summer."
Soon Lords will have another option for honing his diving skills. The niece who teaches diving is in the process of building a diving pool in her Mesa back yard complete with that elusive three-meter board. When it's done, Lords will have a family facility to practice in.
Of course, his ultimate goal is to one day land a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
"He's already talking about that, dreaming about it," Hatch said.