Monday, July 1, 2013

Great Lesson Learned This Swim Season taught by a 12 year old

The day it ends - is my favorite.  I don't care if we win or loose.  It is always a very long season.  We miss so many other summer activities because of swim team.  I had wanted to go to National Right to Life convention this year with the older kids but they preferred to stay home and go to the invitational meets.  I hate that we missed that opportunity because of something so focused on an activity that by now I am sick and tired of. 

I hate that our team always wins.  I liked the team better when we were working at getting better.  I don't like sitting in the ribbon room listening to other teams complain about how awful their kids feel facing our team.  I hate that we have so many outside the neighborhood swimming on our winning team making it impossible for our neighbors to get on the record board.  I am told that is the price of having such professional coaches, good swimmers will flock to them.  So our team is now filled with year round swimmers that compete in summer league as another form of practice.  Some of these kids are our neighbors and are wonderful people, but some are just driven to win no matter who they hurt on the way.  Often they don't even notice that they are hurting others.  The kids are bad and so are many of the adults. 

The personal bests are not the goal often but "destroying" the competitor is.  Two of my kiddos are excellent swimmers.  Unfortunately that makes them targets for the ones to be destroyed.  We tried to move them around in the strokes this year to avoid some of those attacks from other parents and kids.  I was shocked when I listened to a young girl crying because my daughter had switched into her stroke.  I was equally shocked when friends stopped talking to me and their children stopped talking to my children when one of my good swimmers would beat their child in the water.  One child worked very hard to keep up with the year round swimmers.  In turn she out swam a couple of them.  They liked her until she got better than they were and then they stopped talking to her. 

I hope that my kiddos have learned to be gracious winners as well as losers.  I know it didn't always appear that way.  When one child switched events she cried and cried.  Some might think it was because she lost but it was because she DQed.  She was mad at herself.  This bothered me so much.  I don't want to encourage swimming if it brings our the worst in all of us.  Another situation is with a swimmer that is competing with my swimmer and the parents are mean about it.  I found at the end I didn't care if my child had a best time, I only wanted to make sure my swimmer beat the other swimmer.  I was bad about it in the end.  That isn't getting me to heaven. 

Apparently there is a young man on another team that is a fabulous swimmer, he was in the 11/12 year old boy category this year.  He dominates, I am told, at most of the strokes.  Our boys fear swimming against him and so did his own team mates.  My son Pickle would watch him and he told me that he really admires this young man.  This guy would swim his hardest every time.  He would get out of the water before the others reached the end.  He would stop before walking to towel off.  He would turn and shake hands with those that competed against him.  He would tell them good things he noticed about their swims and thank them for swimming.  I never saw this kid but he has impressed on me the real reason why we swim. 

The Texas T's don't swim because we are good.  We don't swim because we win medals.  We don't swim because we need the exercise.  We don't swim to beat someone else.  We don't swim to have friends (this year we seamed to loose as many as we made).  We don't swim to earn scholarships.   Our hope is that the Texas T's swim to glorify God.  I am not too sure we did that very well this year.  I pray that if you saw us swim that you saw a family that loves God above all else.  I hope you saw a family that is close to each other.  I hope you saw that we cheer for you like we cheer for ourselves (our team or another team).  I hope you saw sportsmanship.  I hope you saw community.  I hope you saw Christ in us and in how we treated you.  If you did not, if you saw something else, please know that I am heart-fully sorry. 

Thank you to that random 12 year old young man that showed so much class and respect to his peers.  We all needed that lesson.  May God Bless you and May we learn to be a blessing to others and not just another swimmer. 

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