My oldest had her first high school swim meet last night. Her team should do very well this year. (Actually, they should do well the entire four years she’s in high school. The team is deep with talent.) Last night they went up against one of the best teams in our region and beat them for the first time in six years. Those girls were jumping and screaming and cheering and hugging each other after each event. They were pumped up for this meet and it showed.
This is exactly what I wanted my daughter to experience when I signed her up for swimming five years ago. Not the winning – though that’s a nice perk – the team atmosphere and camaraderie. When she first expressed an interest in swimming we were careful to find the right balance for her. It’s easy to burn a kid out on sports these days with extra practices, workshops, private lessons etc. We didn’t take that route. We wanted her to find a sport that she loved. A sport that would give her a place to belong when she got to high school. A sport that would give her everything a team sport can give – because there’s so, so much you can gain from a team sport.
And now she’s in high school. Last night I watched her fully become part of something bigger. I watched her cheer louder and swim harder than ever before. I saw the smile on her face when the team came storming over to the bleachers to stand in front of their parents and friends to cheer for their school after the meet. I laughed when I saw her shrug her shoulders, shed her warm-up with the other girls and leap in the pool (glasses and all) for a victory lap. I heard the chaos over the phone when she called me from the bus to tell me they were almost back at the school. These are things she will carry with her always. I love that she had this experience last night and that she has a team that she can call her own.