Thursday, April 28, 2016

Competitive sports - you're swimming for your team. Not yourself.

Julian - It's not about whether you made A Division, Double B or Junior Olympian. You can stop belly aching about whether or not you, personally, are great or whether you are going to "lose." That is stress you don't need anyway. Please put that behind you.

Here is the gift about team sports. It's not about you. It's not even about "racing against your own time," a meaningless phrase parents use to cajole their anxious children. That kind of thinking defeats the purpose of team sports. Your personal performance is not what being on a team is about. Being on a team is about what you can do to help the team. It's a beauty, a challenge and an honor.

I realized we had a problem when you wanted to leave immediately after your two races. You had no interest in watching your teammates' races (because you have other stuff to do). You do have other stuff to do. And you are busy. I know that. I drive a lot. But I drove an hour and a half to watch you swim a few minutes of glory and to cheer you on. It is a hollow victory if that is all it is about. Your personal best is not why you are swimming with a swim team.

You're swimming for Coach Tom who has committed his career to helping kids like you see their dreams come true. You're swimming for all the other boys and girls who get together, sometimes happily, two or three days a week. You're swimming for the feeling you have being part of a little group of kids who showed up from Solo to compete against bigger teams like PASA, that have more resources and, well, practice more.

You get to keep the ribbons, but Solo took second and fifth place today (50 Back and 200 Free). The team. Your team. That's why you are here. And so you know, - I am really happy for you right now.

So get yourself a hot chocolate and settle in. We are staying for the rest of the afternoon to cheer on the other children of parents who got up at 6am and drove an hour and a half to watch a 36 second race.

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