|This is not my kid. I would not let her wear one of those ridiculous caps. I would trade the shark fin and googly eyes for horns.|
My relationship with the sport of swimming has once again taken a new direction. I am officially a swim dad. My four year old daughter had her first swim practice last night. It was in-water lessons, but still it was during my practice and therefore her swim team career has officially begun. It was hard to coach when I wanted to be on her end of the pool so badly to watch.
I have often wondered during arguments with swim parents if I would act crazy if it was my kid at the center of the discussion. I used to worry that when my kids started swimming I might instantly lose my ability to see things clearly and start thinking my 8 and under is on a critical path to Olympic glory. I figured it was some kind of a hormone that is released at sign-up night that turns an otherwise normal person into a pushy excellence junkie who is blinded to the fact that their kid isn't really that talented and doesn't really work that hard, becomes hell bent on standing up for their child's right to win everything all the time, and helps their child to escape blame and responsibility for everything.
Not that I have anything against swim parents. 99.9% are awesome… but every coach out there has had a few doozies. I mean, we've all had someone accuse us of trying to use our athletes to help sell crack to elementary school kids. Right? Thank goodness she couldn’t prove it, eh?
My wife seems to think I won't be able to contain myself when it comes to my kids’ swimming. She feels the need to constantly keep my enthusiasm in check. I don’t think I’m gonna have a problem at all. So what if I was thrilled that both of my girls had gigantic hands and feet when they were born? Who cares that I drool when my girls show me how well they can point their big floppy toes? Why is it a problem if the only bouncy balls my girls have to play with are 25 pound medicine balls? And why is it weird that my girls have an opinion on Phelps' performance at Santa Clara? They have an opinion on Rainbow Brite too. Plus, I know I am not the only parent out there who has scoured the internet looking for the LZR in a 3T. Everybody does that, right? I am pretty sure I can keep it in perspective, even when I am in the bleachers at the trials and both of my kids make the Olympic team before they graduate high school. I am so not gonna freak out about it and rub it in everyone's faces like all those other parents would.
I am glad my princess had fun with her first swim team experience. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’m going to be the problem. I might have to actually hold her back a little. When I was tucking my daughter into bed, the conversation went like this:
Daughter: "Do I have swim practice tomorrow?"
Dad: "Yes you do. Do you want to swim tomorrow?"
Daughter: "I like it. I want to swim every day."
Dad: “What was your favorite part?"
Dad: "High five! Yeah!”
Daughter: "Are you going to wake me up early in the morning to take me to your pool?"
Dad: "No. Why would you ask that?"
Daughter: "That's when you wake up at 5 in the morning to go to practice."
Dad: "But your practice is at night."
Daughter: "But I want to go in the morning and at night every day."
Dad: "Oh. That is a big commitment and you just aren't ready for that yet. You just learned how to get your face wet without crying last week."
Daughter: "But some kiddos do!"
Dad: "Yes, but they are bigger than you. Sweetheart, you are not big enough to start double practices yet."
Daughter: "Maybe when I am five years old?"
Mom: "Sure. Maybe. Just don't mention that to your mom, okay? She might think it was my idea."
Oh, man... I am in for a wild ride. I may need to get advice from some other swim parents. That is gonna be weird.