Take you marks, Go!
It is amazing to note,
how differently those words effect different children.
Today I was at a swim competition,
one of the coaches to over thirty swimmers,
most aged between eight and eleven.
Many competing for the first time.
For others the day was traumatic.
They were in a strange pool,
terrified they would miss their race,
and worried about swimming.
So much of their personality revealed.
However, it never ceases to amaze me,
regardless of how they present at the start,
terrified or enthusiastic,
that for some when the whistle blows,
a certain innate nature takes over,
and they rise to the challenge.
For others the whistle blows,
they dive in and “stroll” along.
Some of these are swimmers who are leaders in training.
However in a race a normally slower swimmer beats them.
They have no race pace,
they like to maintain an even keel.
For every swimmer I see race,
so much of their personality and character is revealed.
As I looked at some of my swimmers today,
I found myself pointing out to parents,
some amazing qualities their children were exhibiting.
The child who walked over to shake a fellow finalist hand,
or the one who choked but settled himself and swam on.
The one who lost his goggles, yet never skipped a stroke,
swimming so fast he made the final.
The one who didn’t tie his togs properly, and still managed to swim on.
As he moved onto backcrawl,
I could see his little face struggling, to swim and not cry.
He made the final and won, (tying his togs tightly definitely helped).
At this point I could also mention,
the kindness, support and comradeship,
kids give to each other without prejudice.
All around the pool, in every swim team,
there were swimmers just like ours.
All showing elements of their nature,
parents may never see in everyday life.
One of the greatest returns I get from a competition,
is when a parents eyes are opened,
to a characteristic they never associated with their child.
So when I hear people say,
“I’d prefer my child to play a team sport”
I think to myself how little they understand.
A team sport is wonderful,
but to compete alone takes nerve,
and kids naturally understand they are also part of a team.
So well done to my little team today.
And as always I salute the winners,
but it is often the losers I will never forget!