closet swimmers

Okay, brace yourselves, people.

This mama is about to gush about her daughters.

I rarely do that here (I hope), so I think I’m allowed to every once in awhile.

I’m just so dag’gum proud of them, I can hardly stand it, so gush, I shall.

Let me preface my gush-a-thon with this: before this school year, Jane and Addy had never competed in anything official.

Not one thing.

They never had any interest in playing soccer or t-ball or pinochle, so I just never pushed it. Even when I asked, they always said “no, thanks”. They’re homebodies.

But when my neighbor started coaching the swim team and asked if the girls wanted to join, they were all for it. (Mostly because they just wanted to be with their friends who happen to be our neighbors’ kids.)

Well…okie dokie. You mean, I have to pay dues and buy things like swim caps (what?? I’ve never bought a swim cap in my life) and team suits? Um…did you know they’re only 6 and 8 years old?

Lucas and I didn’t grow up in communities with big racing pools…we grew up in small rural towns that stuck to things like basketball, football and track. You know…the regular sports. That you start when you’re 12 (well, that’s how we did it back then, anyway). I don’t know the first thing about being on a swim team.

Thank goodness there’s such a thing as a swim coach who will tell you about such things.

And whatdaya know…wonder of wonders…our girls can swim. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Well, I mean, I knew they could swim. But I didn’t know they could swim.

And not only can they swim, but they are gifted.

And I don’t mean gifted like “I’m their mom so, of course, they look really fast from where I’m standing” gifted.

I mean like “bullets in the water” gifted.

Clearly they inherited this talent from their mother.



What they did inherit from their mother is the dread of competition. I’ve never been one to be calm about competing in an athletic event.

Case in point: I was so nervous before one of my first 7th grade basketball games that my adrenaline was outta control. After the opening tip, I ran down court to catch the ball under the goal, turned around and “shot” the basketball completely over the backboard. I didn’t know my own strength. I betcha I could have lifted the entire gym up over my head right then.

Totally mortifying event from my adolescence. Clearly the memory is seared into my brain.

Anyway, the girls (namely, Jane) get so incredibly nervous about competing in swim meets that we have a few freak out days before the actual meet. Jane swears up and down that she hate-hate-hates swimming and that she should quit. (No you don’t hate it, Jane.) There are many a’tear shed and lots of bargaining coming from her end.

(And just so’s ya know…we’re not parents who force their kids to do something just for our sake. Nor do we put pressure on them to win-win-win…just try your best. But we’re trying to teach them some commitment here…it ain’t cheap to join the swim team. We told them they’d have to commit for the entire school year before we would talk about quitting.)

She just gets so nervous about the fact that people are watching, and what if she messes up, and what if she doesn’t hear the staring whistle, and what if her goggles fall off, and on and on. Poor kid puts a lot of pressure on herself.


she puts on a brave face anyway…

and she gets up on those starting blocks…

and she swims her little heart out (and just happens to kick booty while she’s at it…and she also has fun…go figure).

I don’t care if they win or lose. I just love that they try.

And when they do that, despite all their fears…well…I might just be the blubbering, crying mom on the side of the pool, screaming “GO, GO, GO!” like an idiot.

I said I might be…I would never embarrass my children like that.

Shelly - January 8, 2012 - 9:27 pm

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!! GO JANE! GO ADDY!! I’ll scream with you sister. Love myself some fellow swimmers — and some Jobes.

Colleen - January 8, 2012 - 9:41 pm

Oh, I forgot to say that YOU, Shelly, were the catalyst for this whole thing. You practically threatened to take away your friendship if I didn’t put Jane on a swim team. Rude. Also, thanks.

Stefanie - January 9, 2012 - 8:01 am

So excited for your girlies and so VERY proud of them, too :) They looked cool as cucumbers!!
P.S. You SHOULD gush about your kiddos, you’re their mama, forgoodnessakes! It’s your JOB to think they’re positively wonderful!!

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