I wonder sometimes if in fact we begin life perfect, and over time we lose a lot of what is good within us?
As I sit here enjoying silence I have a huge grin on my face, and I feel proud. I know it’s not the done thing as an Irish person to be proud, and worse still to let anyone know you feel it, but so be it, I’m guilty as charged. For tonight as I sit here tired, the memory of so many magic moments from today wash over me.
It is not the wonderful swims I watched, where a swimmer makes a certain time and progresses up a grade, (although I am thrilled for those swimmers). It is the many moments of strength, grit, and determination I witnessed today, I remember so fondly.
There was the swimmer who just a few months ago had a nightmare of a swim meet, everything that could go wrong did, giving them results a million miles from the one they deserved. Tears were shed on that occasion, as they continued to swim each event, performing way below their potential. Words of comfort were exchanged, but it is difficult to explain to a hard working ten year old that better days would come. Fast forward to today, where they swam up to and ahead of expectation, resulting in beaming smiles and a skip in their step all day. You couldn’t but watch this swimmer and smile. A lesson in life I doubt they will ever forget.
There were the few swimmers disqualified for minor indiscretions. Some were upset and there were even a few tears, but within moments I watched them gather themselves, put it behind them, and swim as if it had never happened. Not an easy task when they had worked so hard to achieve a good time, which would not now be recorded.
I watched young swimmers sit with nervous friends, encouraging and distracting them. Swimmers roar on their team mates, celebrating and high fiveing as if it were the Olympics. Swimmers who did not make the relays generously congratulating those who did. Swimmers continue to battle, despite the fact their goggles had fallen off, or worse, had filled with water.
So many dramas in a single day.
Most of these young swimmers arrived in our club as five year olds. Some will continue to compete, others in time may decide not to. As I coached them earlier today I thought how much of life’s lessons competing was teaching them, tonight I realise I was wrong.These young swimmers already knew most of these lessons, it was I as an adult watching them who was learning afresh about friendship, resilience, determination and sportsmanship.
I thank each and every one of the young swimmers today, for lessons well learned.
photo credit: Alain Bachellier via photopin cc