Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Meet

Casey participated in his first swim meet yesterday. He approached the meet with the same laid-back attitude he approaches most sporting events.

Me: "Casey, are you excited about your meet today?"

Casey: (shrugging shoulders) "Meh."

I was very proud of him -- he had to swim five events: backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and the 100 IM. There's quite a bit of waiting between each of the events, but we camped out in a shady spot and soaked in our first swim meet (pun sort of intended) . . . which was really much less tedious than the karate tournament we went to last fall . . . I think primarily because we weren't stuck entertaining a two year old at the top of some bleachers. We took our own chairs to this event and left the toddler at home.

Here he is at the start of his first race, the backstroke:

That's his coach on the right in the khaki shorts. He's good with the kids, very laid-back, but keeps them on task. It's kind of a weird team experience, though. So far, every practice we've gone to, there has been a different set of kids there because you can basically pick up to four practices per week out of the twelve possible practice times. We've pretty much stuck to the same schedule, but apparently everyone else flits around the practices. I've only met two other moms at two different practices and then never saw them again. It's like a twilight zone team where Casey is the only team member that stays the same, but the rest of the team roster changes daily. It's baffling to me. The only constant is the coach and he is at least remembering Casey's name from practice to practice, so that's good enough for me. Just remember who my kid is and don't let him drown -- those are the standards I have set for our swim coach.

For the first race, I stood there at the start -- for all the other races I stood at the other end and screamed for him. Not too much screaming in general by the audience at the swim meet, so I really did try to restrain myself. There were only two or three screamers at the meet even though there were probably three hundred people there. I don't understand why that is -- I suppose everyone else realizes that the kids are underwater and can't really discern that it's them you're screaming for, but I wasn't screaming for him so much as I was screaming to let out all of my pent-up emotion.

This whole kid performance thing is very nerve-wracking for me. I was on the verge of tears the entire morning but it wasn't because Casey was nervous or upset or that I had high expectations. It was just plain hard to let him go out there on his own and try to succeed. And it was a completely new experience for me. I wasn't a swimmer as a kid so I had no idea how the meets work. I don't do well in new situations . . . I'm sure it's a control thing.

The good news is that Casey didn't seem to pick up on all of my angst. When it was time for him to swim, he reported to the "clerk of course" (for a lawyer, that sounds a lot like "clerk of courts" and is odd to hear 100 times in one morning) and got in line. He swam his races, walked back to our spot with me, asked for a hot dog, was denied each time (I had to have some motivation for him to finish the meet, didn't I?) and then waited for his next race.

He did really well considering that he's only been swimming official strokes since June and that I'm not sure he could have swam the length of a 25m pool at the beginning of the summer without stopping. So the fact that in one month's time he can swim the 100m IM at all in a respectable time is astonishing to me. When he finished that last race, I was so proud of him and kept telling him how great he did.

And all he said was "Now can I have hot dog?"

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