Stupid Ass Parents. And other things we need to know about meets.
Medley relay – Medley relay is swum by four different swimmers, each swimmer swimming one of the four strokes. It starts in the water with backstroke. Then breaskstoke, butterfly and last but not least freestyle. The backstroker keeps their time because it is an official start gets an official time for their swim, the rest are just splits. It may not be fair but that is how it works.
I.M. – This stands for Individual Medley. People always ask why only one person swims. Really, is the definition of Individual that hard? Please don’t ask about the difference between these two outloud. Use your phone and Wikipedia the crap out of it.
Times – Close doesn’t count in horse shoes, hand grenades or qualifying meets. There is no one who cares. Starbucks, tears, begging – only makes you look like an idiot. In other words, .01 may as well be a million seconds. Shut up. Either it happened or didn’t.
Times two – The times don’t lie. They aren’t up for debate. Don’t lie about your times. USA Swimming tells the truth. They aren’t hard to find.
Times three – Unless they ask you to, DO NOT time other people’s kids. You are an asshole if you do. There is no excuse for it. Don’t trace down the results sheet to anyone else’s kids name either. No fist pumping when someone else’s kid tanks and no sad faces when they kick ass. This is an individual sport. If you don’t pay the swim team payments it is none of your business.
Cheering – They can’t hear you. I asked all three of my kids. We have a consensus. But know the person next to you can. Tone it down a notch. PS – they know they are supposed to kick. Don’t yell pull during freestyle. If in doubt yell GO really quietly.
Hand gestures – They definitely can’t see you. You look like an idiot. For some reasons parents especially like to make them when they are timing 500 free and the kid is swimming away from the parents. This is actually an opportunity to check your email, don’t flap your arms up and down. It really doesn’t make you look cute.
Heat sheets – Let the person next to you look at it. If we can afford swimming we can afford heat sheets. We are either too lazy to get it, sat it down somewhere or want to save a tree or two. I buy them most of the time. I will loan you mine if you loan me yours.
Deck – Unless you are timing or officiating, you have no business being on it. It annoys the coaches, the kids and the other parents. If you need a bird’s eye view, time. Otherwise, sit yourself on the metal bleachers and sweat your butt off like the rest of us.
Bleacher seats – I can sit on them without a cushion. But I am better than you. Bring a cushion. Do NOT bring a seat with a back. They press into the person behind you. Right in the freaking knee. They are miserable and people HATE you for bringing them. If this is a problem, bring a folding chair and park it in the lobby. This is where all the normal people hang out. I would sit out there but then I would have nothing to write about.
The newspaper – Feel free to bring one. But don’t open it up all huge like. This isn’t your kitchen table. Do NOT read articles outloud to your wife. She has told you three times she already read the damn thing.
Coffee – When are you going to figure out that it absolutely IS going to get kicked over if you don’t hold it.
Videotaping – Use your ipone. Use your ipad. Use a small video recording camera. But please do not set up a tripod in the middle of the aisle. PS – If your kid is really great they are live streaming this meet online.
Coaches – Don’t complain about them. I guarantee your coaches best friend is sitting two rows down. If you don’t like your coach – change teams. If you are constantly complaining that your coach is mean to you and you alone, it is time to consider that you are probably a pain in your coaches rear end.
Parents – They all love their kid best. How can this even be discussed. No one is going to ask their kid to step down from a relay because your kid is trying really hard. And this goes both ways, if your kid loses a spot, deal with it. Don’t talk about other kids while you are in the stands.
Your kid – Do not freak out when they tank. They all do. Or will soon. It builds character. What kind of world are we living in if the expectation is that our kids are only able to get better and aren’t allowed to blow it from time to time? Don’t yell at them in the stands when they come up for donut money. Do not humiliate your child. Do not high-five them for beating their friend. High fives for best times, hugs for time adds. The rest of the discussion happens in the car on the way home. My kids have to walk home if they don’t have fun at a meet.
Yelling at your kid – You are allowed to when they have asked you for the 12th time for the $62 meet t-shirt. They don’t need a shirt at every meet and if they ask too much this is cause to get mad. I give you permission here. It gets annoying. How many tie-dye long sleeve t-shirts does one kid need. Apparently at my house it is more than 10.
Excuses – Lose them.
I know at this point you are thinking “man I don’t want to sit next to the super fly mom, she is a total bitch” but I am not! I will let you borrow my sheet, will offer to buy you a water when I get up and I will ask you where you swim, where you live, how many kids you have, if they all swim and will even play words with friends with you. I won’t talk about how awesome my kids are OR complain about my coach OR talk smack about your team. I have made some really awesome friends along the way at meets (which is nice because we now seek each other out at meets!). One of my favorite friends swims in Virginia and we meet up at the qualifier meets. Her daughter and my oldest swim the same strokes and tend to be a heat or two apart. I now scan the psych sheets for her daughter first to make sure they will be there.
All I ask it that you act right. Everyone sitting in the stands thinks their kid is awesome, has a lot of potential and they will do really well in the sport. I think as parents our job is to remember – it is just a meet. One of many. I think the predictor of how far our kids will go in the sport is dependent upon how chill we are as parents.
See you in the stands. (Or lobby). I’ll bring the coffee and paper.