Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tiger Shark Tales #TBTStories

It's Thursday, and my throwback story today is one that defined our summer for many years: Tiger Shark Swim Team. I have noticed some posts on Facebook recently about kids and swim meets, and it brought back sweet summer memories of our years as a swim family.

Being a swimmer means lots and lots of practice. Five days a week I drove the swim practice shuttle, sometimes twice a day. Different ages practiced at different times, so I spent lots of time waiting. Yes, I could have dropped them off, but I didn't always have somewhere else I needed to be, so we would wait. Before he was old enough for the team, Adam carried his little bag of Thomas trains, and could entertain himself quite well on the steps outside the pool windows. The early practice was at the outdoor pool, and they practiced indoors at the high school in the afternoon.

Jonathan, David, Adam, Andrew, Jennifer

On meet days, we had spaghetti for lunch (no sauce), followed by rest time in the afternoon in preparation for the evening meet. We packed goggles and Gatorade, snacks and Speedos, lots of towels, and some books or games for the wait time between events. 

At home meets, everyone had a job. Kids were preparing to swim, checking their events, writing them on their arms, and trying to keep track of their goggles. (There was one summer when I swear I bought goggles every. single. day.) Parents were shepherding swimmers, selling concessions, timing lanes, writing ribbons, and figuring scores. We worked hard to raise money for touch pads and a timing system, which simplified the scoring process and eliminated the need to write on ribbons by hand. Jim was the master of the computer at home meets, and was even known to make his way to the scorer's table at away meets if they appeared to need a little help. :)

I have many, many memories of meets, both home and away: the carpeted step bleachers at South Dearborn, setting up the tent and grilling chicken at the conference meet at Jennings County, the tight quarters around the pool deck at Milan, and the fun of an outdoor meet on a beautiful summer night at Batesville or Hidden Valley. Those outdoor meets were great until someone spotted lightning in the distance.

Swimming taught our kids a potentially life-saving skill, and they also learned sportsmanship, goal-setting, perseverance, and the fun of being on a team. There is nothing quite like the excitement of being on a swim relay team, whether you are a six-year-old Tiger Shark or an Olympic swimmer. (Just watch the Olympics relays, and you'll see what I mean.)

I don't have too many pictures of those age group meets because, well, I was busy. I do, however, have lots of memories. Washing towels and towels and towels, celebrating a new Tiger Shark record or a new PR, paying Jonathan to win the butterfly (I think I still owe him 20 bucks), a van load of excited swimmers, the sweet smell of chlorine, and cheering on our kids from my spot in lane six. Priceless.

Linking up with Jessica at The Mom Creative. #TBTStories.

1 comment:

Terri D. said...

My mom was afraid of the water and couldn't swim. She made sure we all had swimming lessons, and three of the four of us completed life guard training. No swim team in my little hometown, but we lived at one end of Buckeye Lake. It was important to know how to swim! Good for your kids that they had such great opportunities.