Monday, June 16, 2014

Blue Ribbons All Around

We are half way through the swim season, and I think awards are in order. The first blue ribbon goes to . . .


Faithful reader Kris said I'd get this swim meet thing down to a science, and perhaps I have. Last week were just about on time, had no mud-wrestling match with Hal (the device formerly known as Printer), lost no swim trunks, dodged no lightning en route, didn't get lost.

I hope I'm not declaring victory prematurely, but we may have arrived.

I humbly offer the keys to success:

1. Do not engage Hal.

I did not attempt to print two-sided heat sheets. I opened the documents and hit print. Eight sheets and no bad words later, the deal was done.

2. Stuff the kids before the meet.

I have begun serving nutritious frozen dinners an hour before departure. My kids still sound (and look) like they're starving, but let the record reflect that this is mere illusion coupled with rather impressive acting skills methodically honed over many years. It's a lot easier to say no to the junk if you know, for sure and for certain, that they've eaten. (Though I have to say there's something about sitting by a pool that makes you want to snack. I do packs snacks, and, believe me,  it's not all rice cakes and fruit.) Eating ahead of time at least takes the edge off.

3. Enjoy home meets.

Not that I have anything to say about this, but not having to worry about directions and parking makes it all go smoother.

4. Enjoy the second year.

I watched a neophyte Mom trying to decipher the hieroglyphics we write in black Sharpie all over our kids' arms (event, heat, lane, stroke). I realized that it's all easier the second time around. We more or less speak the language.

5. Enjoy watching the kids enjoy themselves.

Meet one from start to finish lasted just under six hours. Ainsley came up to me and said, "This was so much fun." What was "this", I wondered. She doesn't even swim. Ainsley sits around on a beach towel chatting with the other little girls. When they all began to leave, Ainsley moves over to the older girls and practices braiding hair.  And she loves every minute of it.

And now back to the awards . . . The second blue ribbon goes to . . .

Kolbe who is swimming faster and better and has a great attitude about joining this endeavor relatively late in life. He's made lots of friends at the pool. I watched a gang of boys take a swim cap and and move it back and forth so fast and hard it stretched to about two feet in diameter. Their goal was to stretch it so far they could get one of the boys inside the swim cap. Why? I couldn't tell you.  Well, the cap exploded. The boys immediately approached the lifeguard.  "Elliot," I heard them call, in voices sweet and innocent, "is there an extra swim cap anywhere?"  Apparently, they pulled this idea from You Tube which offers no end of interesting diversions while at the pool.

Watching twelve-year-old boys be twelve-year-old boys is entertaining in and of itself and reminded me of the summers we invested hours creating amazing whirlpools.

The third blue ribbon goes to . . .

Me again.

Here's the bad news: Ainsley's been blackballed from the swim team. Kindly, gently, sweetly asked to try again next year. Seems no matter what the coaches asked her to do, she tended to shake her head and politely but firmly decline to participate. She did spend quite a lot of time adjusting her goggles. Apparently that has not been shown to improve swim strokes.

But did I freak? No, I did not. For the simple reason that Ainsley is my fourth and not my first. So blue ribbon for me!

The fourth blue ribbon goes to . . .

John who has actually won four blue ribbons and a couple of other ones as well. The boy is fast. For his parents, it's basketball season all over again. We are shaking are heads wondering how this came to be. My sister has always looked at John's skin color and joked that he was switched at birth. His athletic prowess might be the most convincing evidence yet.

(And can I just admit here that it's really fun to watch your kid excel?)

The fifth and final blue ribbon goes to . . .

Tim who couldn't be  prouder of his youngest brother. "You're a shredder, John," he tells him. "A shredder!"

Shredder, I'm assuming, is a good thing? Right?

Tim is away for this part of the summer, working at a Scout camp nearby. He came home for about a day and a half and was so thrilled to see me, I nearly cried. John was happiest of all to have big brother Tim back in the house. Tim is an amazing big brother -- funny, slightly wild, always encouraging.

We're having a great summer.

Yeah, it's hot (though not as hot as it could be). Yeah, the kids say they're bored. Yeah, I've lost the streaming remote so the edifying television I had fixed in my mind has yet to happen.

It's not perfect, but it's been very, very good.

And I am grateful.


Kris said...

So proud of you!!! It will keep getting better and better (although not the length of the swim meet!). Next year, you can aim to actually bring dinner to the pool with you - I have lots of easy, quick, portable ideas. Mine have learned when to eat (after the first set of relays but before their first main event)- keeps the snack requests and the "I'm starving!" insistence to a minimum. Laughing so hard about Ainsley!! My oldest (who is super fast and swimmer extraordinaire at 17!) refused to even put his face (or his entire head, really)in the water when he was her age. She'll get there!

Kelly Dolin said...

Thanks, Kris!

I saw a few crock pots at a meet and wondered if families were toting an entire meal. I could pull off sandwiches, fruit, and chips.

One regular meet to go!