It’s not uncommon for my friends to say, “I don’t know how you do it.” They are referring to the amount of time I spend teaching and coaching swimming, particularly the weekends and 5 am starts. I suspect not only do they wonder ‘how?’ but ‘why?’
So why do I and my fellow coaches and teachers do it?
Take tonight for example, a young swimmer nearly burst rushing out to show me his first ever medal for swimming won at a school competition today. Here I am at home now typing this and I can still see his smiling face and the excitement in it as he shared his news.
Or listening tonight to the seventy plus young swimmers aged six to nine sing happy birthday to a new seven year old who swung between delight and embarrassment as she listened to them roar her name.
Or one evening last week realising one of our senior swimmers had come teaching, as she does voluntarily every week, despite the fact that that evening was her eighteenth birthday.
Or the following morning at 6 am, when her friends arrived to the pool with a cake and a candle to mark her special birthday. These senior swimmers have been at the club for years and while others speak disparagingly of the teenagers of today, I am more than confident that our future generation will do us proud. Swimming has become more than just a sport for them. It has given them wonderful friendships and taught many lessons.
Or last weekend when we traveled to a competition and I saw young and older swimmers chat and sit together, cheer each other on and be there when swims went well and not so well. Some at the very beginning of their swimming lives, others very experienced.
When my friends speak of not knowing how I and my fellow coaches do what we do I understand why, it’s because they only see the time and effort we put in, not the many and varied rich rewards we receive every day. They wonder and perhaps at times pity us. But as I sit here tonight hearing ‘happy birthday’ and seeing that smiling winner in my minds eye I couldn’t be happier.
Mind you that doesn’t mean I wont skip off early tomorrow for a night away with a gang of girls and enjoy it twice as much because I’m not getting up at the dawn (but might be coming home at it!)
photo credit: C-Serpents via photopin cc