Sarah is a talker. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I use humor in an attempt to be humble in conversation. Sarah, she doesn’t disguise her feelings in any way. Not even a weak attempt.
On the way to last weekends Championship Meet (JO’s) she declared she was going to make finals at the meet. Her best shot was in 100 breast. She was seeded 33rd and her seed time was a very recent swim. Knowing she had the propensity to be mouthy on deck I wanted to make sure she kept her ego in check. I decided to skip tact all together and simply said “Sarah, you are NOT going to make finals, so please watch what you say on deck”.
As the words were coming out of my mouth I wanted to shove them back in. I immediately apologized and told Sarah that if anyone had the ability to rise to a very big challenge such as that, it was her. I think I pissed her off. But I’m pretty used to that.
Sarah swam a beautiful race, dropping 2.45 seconds. I couldn’t believe it. I sat watching the heats after hers almost in disbelief. IF my math was correct she had placed 16th, earning her a spot in the B finals. I kept hitting refresh refresh refresh with a finger that I could barely steady. My math was off. She placed 15th. About the same time the final results were posted she materialized on deck to tell me her final time (she probably though I was too old to read the electronic score board, which I can see just fine, it is the damn heat sheet that kills me!). I realized she didn’t know she had made finals. The look of pure joy on her face was something I won’t ever forget. She was elated.
She ran home and took a nap before finals. Dad decided to bring her back to the meet – he wanted to see her swim. I was a nervous wreck. When my kids make finals I just hope for them to same time the race. I would hate for them to make finals on luck. I was lucky to be armed with meet mobile, Chris at the meet and several friends on hand to text me updates.
Sarah decided to prove herself a worthy competitor. She dropped another second and moved up to 13th place overall. Sarah. Who at the age of 12 was swimming in her first ever Championship meet. She crushed it. Sarah, who I had to beg the coaches to take a chance on just a year ago. Sarah. Who doesn’t “really” like swimming.
I’m proud of her beyond words. We don’t have the most conventional relationship. I spend a lot of time helping her keep her foot out of her very big mouth. And in the process, tend to swallow my foot. I would like to say my doubt helped fuel her fire. It didn’t. She decided to light her own bonfire. Watch out world.