Saturday, July 7

Finishing Strong

Tomorrow, Bentley will dive in the water twice.  The first time, he will swim 25 yards freestyle.  The second time, he will swim an individual medley (all four strokes).  He is swimming in our county swim meet.  He may place in the top ten in both races, but most likely will not qualify for the state meet...he has some tough competition.  The boy LOVES to swim and gives it his all, so I can guarantee he will be happy regardless.  I will be proud regardless.

I love our summer swim team.  There is a huge sense of team camaraderie, of being a part of something awesome.  The season is only five weeks long, and as the mom who drives there and sits each morning, it is a busy five weeks.  The swimming instruction and exercise alone make it worth it.  But the friendships, the cheers, the high fives, the constant encouragement, the place where everybody knows your name and pulls for you--these things are such bonuses.  I know all coaches aren't the same and all teams are not equal, but I am seriously in LOVE with our team.

Where else would you sit around and write encouraging thoughts on your friends' backs?

And these boys?  Let's just say that they are ALL incredible.  They worked together all season, forming 3/4 of one of the best relay teams in their age group in the whole county.  And sometimes one would win a race, and another would come in second.  I knew we hit jackpot with Bentley's soul a few week ago when Bent came in second behind his buddy Charlie, missing first by only a few seconds.  He climbed out of the pool, ran over two lanes to Charlie and said with true excitement, "Congratulations!  You came in first, and I came in second.  We both earned points for our team!"

And at the last meet, when the fourth member started daydreaming and took an extra fifteen seconds or so to dive in and swim, these three boys pulled it together and found a way to look past his mistake and tell him it was okay.  Seriously?  We could all learn a lesson in forgiveness from that.  When you are a team, you are a team.  They understand that.
Our team finished the season undefeated, for the second year in a row.  I believe wholeheartedly that those wins, while marked for sure with great swimming, can be better catergorized as the result of great coaching, constant reminding of humility, and remembering to leave the fun mixed into the sport.  These kiddos pulled off the wins, but man, they had so much fun doing it!

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