Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Swim Meet

Our son swims on a local team each summer. Since he doesn't want to swim year-round, he's never one of the faster ones, but he participates and has fun, so it's all good. He leaves for Scout camp tomorrow so today was his last swim meet of the season. It was a nail biter!  We left still not knowing, for sure, whether we'd won. If so, our team would remain undefeated. We were ahead by only 8 points at the end of breaststroke . . . yikes!

This has been a great season.  Our team was in the basement of the league for many years. But because it wasn't 'in demand' like the top teams, we slowly but surely built up a team that is even in numbers and abilities in every age and gender category.  The top team was so competitive that slower swimmers felt unwelcome, so they didn't come back the next year. Now that formerly 'top' team (most of their swimmers compete year round at very high levels) is very uneven.  And next week our team will swim against that top team -- the other undefeated team -- the team everyone loves to hate.

The way points work in a meet is that you have three categories of swimmers: A, B, and C.  You get points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category.  If your team has scared off all your "B" and "C" swimmers, then when you are up against a team that has plenty of B's and C's to field, they get 1, 2, and 3 in those categories. So you can have the faster swimmers in the state on your team, but if you don't also have slower swimmers, you can lose the meet.

The sad thing is that the top team has such a reputation for mean spirited competition, i.e. pushing out slower swimmers, and recruiting fast swimmers from outside the league to swim with them rather than welcoming anyone new -- that they've taught their swimmers some really unpleasant behaviors. This is a neighborhood level league.  For them, it isn't about the kids having fun and honing an important skill any longer, it's about whether their kid is the one that will get the swimming scholarship.  It feeds right into the "my kids the most special" syndrome that our family tries desperately not to get caught up in.  We're not always successful, I might add. But if our team becomes one of those 'centers of arrogance', we won't stick around.  Why?

Because at the other end of the spectrum is my son, who swims like someone has invited him to a party, and he's supposed to just enjoy his turn in the water.  I guess I'd rather have that attitude than the arrogance of the other. But EIGHT POINTS? Could you just show a LITTLE bit of urgency, son?

Ha ha...Great season!

Late breaking news -- we received word that our team lost the meet: 557 to 542.  It was a great meet though - totally positive attitudes from everyone there! And it does take a little pressure off next week. 


quilly said...

Why is it always competition that wins awards, medals and ribbons, and not cooperation? "Plays well with others," shouldn't be the booby prize. It should be the badge of honor.

SouthLakesMom said...

Our league actually does have a Spirit award that is given each year to one or two swimmers who exemplify the ideal of good sportsmanship and encouragement to others. It doesn't usually go to one of the fastest swimmers...

I do love that our league's other teams are all very friendly and encouraging to all swimmers. When you're standing there at the end of the lane timing a CHILD, you cheer for that child to finish well, no matter what team he or she is on!

Mary said...

Having fun: isn't that what it should be all about?
Let us know how it ended!