Monday, July 4, 2011
A Heartwarming Tale: How a Member of Team USA Saved a Swim Career: Happy July 4th!
My girls only began swim lessons last fall. They love it, they really do. I know this because I'm constantly asking them, "are you sure you don't want to play soccer...or softball....or kickball.....dominoes?" It probably comes out more like, "YOU LIKE IT! YOU REALLY LIKE IT! RIGHT? RIGHT? RIGHT?" Whether it's the truth of they're afraid I will stop feeding them and caring for them if they hate it (kidding! kidding!) they tell me the love it and I can tell they do. Awesome. Go big or go home, ladies.
We go to the pool at Lifetime Fitness and the rest of the kids are dicking around with their water guns and splishy-splashy and my girls are working on breaststroke timing. So one day I thought it would be a good idea for them to work on starts. Now, there's rules. The lap pool is for 12 and older ONLY. Don't think you can be some age grouper and practice on your own time. Sorry, kid. Take your passion, dedication and goggles....shut up and go down the water slide like you're supposed to. Okay, so I knew the rule but I thought since the lanes were empty and it was close to closing and I was standing right there it would be okay. One of my girls, Anna, wanted to work on starts.
All of the sudden a blast of whistles came roaring out of the sky. I almost peed myself-scared the hell out of me- I can only imagine what it sounded like to my daughter. "No one under the age of 12 in the lap pool" the lifeguard yelled. "I understand" I said in my calmest tone, "but she swims well and she's trying to make the swim team. She needs to practice starts."
"Forget it, Mom. It's okay. I don't want to do it. I don't think I want to swim anymore anyways. No jeah!" I shot the putzy kid a look, "SEE WHAT YOU DID?" He shrugged his pimply shoulders, muttered something about the rules, called me "ma'am" and walked off. Now, I know my kid can be a *little* dramatic and has a tendency to overreact (I have no idea WHERE she gets it from) so I talked to her, her dad talked to her, her sister talked to her. She was embarrassed and upset. She's a perfectionist. She's a little....intense. I wasn't making any progress and neither was anyone else.
So what does a super swim mom and swim fan do in these situations? It's easy, a no-brainer. They bring in a National Teamer. Through the wonders of social networking I was able to ask USA Swimming's 2009 and 2010 Male Swimmer of the Year, Ryan Lochte (who had shown tremendous kindness and thoughtfulness to my girls at meets before) for some help. I told him what happened, how she said "no jeah" and she never wants to swim again. Oh, and it was the day after her birthday. Can he help?" Of course, I never expected to hear anything back. Why should I? Why would he respond to some mom worried about her 8 year old kid? Like the dude has nothing else going on, right? With his keg tossing, tire flipping and 18,000 meter practices. Ten minutes later my Blackberry was flashing. "No jeah? hahahaha." After picking myself up from the floor I managed to type "just the fact that you responded is so nice. It happened on her birthday. Can you wish her a happy birthday? Seriously, she'd be so psyched she'd forget all about this other drama." The next day there was this.......
Seriously? Name ONE other sport where one of it's premiere athletes is going to take the time to do that? You think your kid misses a touchdown pass they're going to hear from Drew Brees? I don't think so. I see this all the time with swimmers on twitter. It takes a fraction of a second and it means so much to the fan. Name another sport where your kid can get a robo call from Olympic medalists. Here kids, great meet today! Matt Grevers has something to say to you. Do you know what that means to a kid?
So, yes, she got back in the pool. She has the tweet on her wall in her bedroom. Of course, I know my daughter will never win any Olympic medals or break any world records. The world would have continued on it's axis if she never got in a pool again...but to me she's important...and her feelings and frustration were important. The fact that she was important enough for the 22 seconds it took for Ryan Lochte to write that tweet is immeasurable and just one more reason why I love this sport and it's athletes.
Happy July 4th, America. Team USA, go kick some ass at Worlds. We're so proud of all of you.
Posted by The Screaming Viking! at 4:42 AM