Thursday, July 08, 2010

Gigantic Swimmer Boy

I took my 13 y.o. son with me to the pool today to swim some laps. Gosh I wish this kid had a competitive bone in his body because he can swim like a fish. No like a dolphin. Like his mama, he was born to be an aquatic mammal. Gosh he's good! And he hasn't swam since last year, yet I had to work to keep up with him. Some of it is that, like me, he has enormous hands and feet (size 13 and counting). Great paddles and flippers. And he's grown an inch in less than a month, making him even with me at 5'7", a fact he is very excited about. All that growing of course makes for a very clumsy land mammal and about every time he moves around the house he knocks something over, breaks something, stubs a toe or knocks a knee or elbow (many of you taller guys can probably remember the awkwardness of the teenage growth spurts).

Since he's hoping to get into a great college and go to med school (I about faint if I allow myself to think about what that will cost), I am encouraging him to think of the word Scholarship. Swimming or water polo would be good, and with hands the size of small snow shovels, I think he'd be great at water polo, a sport I wish had been around when I was a teen (much more fun than just swimming boring laps). If there's one thing I regret I think it's that I didn't start swimming competitively before college. I really struggled my way financially through college, working more than one job at a time and cobbling together whatever academic scholarships I could get my hands on. But those don't touch the kind of scholarships that athletes can land, and I probably would've been better set if I'd focused on swimming in high school. Unfortunately, the swimming coach was a Jerk with a capital J (you hear that Mr. Freeman???) who once famously told me just how "unathletic"  he thought I was. If there's one thing I've done in my life, maybe it's that I proved that one wrong, LOL.

In any case, my real goal with the kids is that they're both proficient swimmers and that they both love the water. I think that should be every parents' goal. As a coach who frequently works with adults who have traumatic experiences with water (sometimes at the hand of well-meaning adults when they were children), I know that the most important thing is that kids are comfortable and safe in and around the water. In my family, not swimming is not an option (my son calls this part of my "tough shit" policy). So whether or not he swims for his supper, at least he'll swim for fun.


janasmama said...

I love your 'tough shit' policy!! And I love even more that you encourage the word Scholarship. Seriously are so right!! And it makes sense to use our physical talent to aid where we want to go mentally (i.e. education) since physical exercise is relative to mental stimulation.

It must be so much fun to swim with your kids. Jaden is going under water now and it makes me so happy.

Paul said...

...excellent policy....more parents need to have one!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Our oldest is almost 9 and he started mini swim team this summer. I'm so glad he loves the water!

I write encouragement for triathletes on my blog IronMakeover

I also write athlete profiles for my blog and for my nonfiction manuscript for first-time triathletes. Would you be interested in being featured? You can read examples of past features on my blog and let me know what other questions you have.
Thanks for considering it!
:-) Sara