Four years ago this summer we started on an adventure that we had NO idea would last or take us to the places it has taken us. We had no idea that our boys would continue on the journey and didn’t realize the impact it would have on our lives as a family. Four years ago, we started swimming. And I don’t mean the swim in your back yard, float with a drink in your hand, and avoid the summer heat swimming.
I mean 4-5 days a week for an hour or more a day, thousands of laps, hundreds of races, wins, losses, hours volunteering, poolside chats, panicked texts about missing _________ (the list is way too long to actually make…but envision it starting with swim jammers and ending with goggles). We didn’t know 4 years ago, that this swim team journey would every really matter. We didn’t know 4 years ago that our boys would be swimming in a 10 hour swim meet an hour and a half away. But swimming, and all that it is, has become a part of life for our family. Not a day goes by that someone, doesn’t mention something, about swimming.
With that…comes so much emotion as we prepare for our 1300 mile move. See, leaving our school and neighborhood friends will be sad. But since our boys have only been at their school for 2 years and because much of our free time is spent pool side, their deepest connections (and perhaps ours too) have been made at the pool. Approximately 900 hours have been spent swimming or sitting on the pool deck. That. Is. A. Lot. Of. Hours. A lot of hours to connect with other kids and families. A lot of hours for our boys to encourage and be encouraged as they learned about the best and worst parts of swimming. So many hours of coaching, correction, repetition, commitment, frustration, passion, love, laughter. Never could we have imagined, 4 years ago, what swimming would bring to not only our boys, but our family.
Nine years into parenting we have participated in our fair share of sporting/school events. All with other parents and their children. We have sat on sidelines at baseball games and watched many soccer games. We have cheered on academic clubs and we have participated in music programs. But after four years, we can honestly say, it would be hard to beat the feel of a pool deck. See, on a pool deck, when a swimmer is in the water, all eyes are on that swimmer (whether first or last). All eyes are watching as these kids (who lets be honest, are doing something most adults would never dream of doing every day), and as all of the eyes are watching, the voices are cheering. The words of encouragement abound. Parents cheer for kids they don’t know and those they know best. When a swimmer is left to finish the race while the others wait at the wall, the cheers get LOUDER, because in swimming, it’s not just about who wins. It’s not about a championship at the end of the season. It’s about a personal best. It’s about supporting everyone on the team. Being the last one in the pool at five or six years old can obviously be terrifying. But, I can only imagine what it feels like to hear so many people behind you. We never would have guessed, four years ago, that we would learn and teach our boys so much about sportsmanship through swimming.
Four years ago, we never would have guessed that not only would our boys find friends at swimming, but we as parents would, too. We never would have guessed that when our boys have a rough swim, it might be the words from another parent (who may have a child in the same age group) that leave a lasting mark on our boys. We never would have guessed four years ago, that our team, would in many ways feel like family.
We have so much love for the sport of swimming after four years. We have come to realize that swimming has brought our boys far more than learning to win or how to swim. Swimming has given our boys a life long understanding of hard work, it has given them confidence, swimming has shown them what a true team looks like, and swimming has allowed our boys to meet so many amazing people. The last four years, our boys have had amazing coaches. Who have given them far more than just pool time. They believed in them. They pushed them. And our boys have been surrounded by other parents who have helped them to understand that swimming isn’t only about winning, and that no one is in it alone.
After four years of swimming for our team, it will be hard to leave. But not because we can’t find another pool. And not because We don’t think our boys will continue to grow and improve, but because here, four years ago, we started on a swim team, and find ourselves now leaving a swim family. A group of people who have given so much to our boys…and to us. So we will keep swimming, and I am sure we will find a wonderful new team, but we will never be able to replace all that swimming has given to our family in the last four years. Keep swimming TPA friends, we can’t wait to see where this sport takes so many of you!❤️