Wylie has had a banner year.
Not only has he stared fear down in the face several times to do pretty amazing things, he has worked through "worst case scenarios" in many instances and persevered to grow through the circumstances and emerge a heartier soul.
I could not be more proud of him.
Saturday's meet was a mixed bag of results in terms of score-keeping: he made it through his 50 back, got DQed in the 100 breast for a late second hand on the first length, and swam his heart out on the free leg of the boys 4 x relay...only to have the team DQed on another swimmer's entry. Still, he navigated the maze of emotions.
He was jubilant after the 50 back; he got out of the pool and was very energized that he had done the race.
He was deeply disappointed when the ref came to tell him about the breast DQ--so much so that he could not even look him in the eye.
The relay was a last minute entry and Wylie was not "prepared" even to swim in it. Yet, it was just what the doctor ordered. Wylie was already saying "I'm never...." about future meets and wallowing in the agony of defeat. But, when he had to rally for the other boys on his team, he did it. And, he did it with great flare. I've never seen him swim as "hard" as he did that first 25 of the free. I think he took two breaths. At this point, none of the boys knew they were already DQed. It was very touching.
So, ZigZag readers know all about Wylie's quest earlier this month for the 200 items and the Nintendo DS. Well, I made a bargain with Wylie. He is the proud owner of his own DS and the newly committed YST swimmer who is going to attempt anything Coach Kathy thinks he is capable of in the season this year. I believe the bargain will serve him well.
I didn't stay involved in organized sports as a kid. There were a lot of complicated family dynamics, but mostly it was just that my interests were more artistic and creative and I ususally had my head in a book when I wasn't doing school stuff, etc. I did participate in a girls' service organization for 8 years and was active in other school clubs. Still, I played tennis, volleyball, and softball (just long enough to scar my knees permanently). I liked being part of a team. And, I learned perseverance in other areas of my life.
As a parent of a unique child like Wylie, the benefit of participation in swimming cannot be overstated. Learning to fail, learning to succeed, learning to support a team, learning to become better at something, attending practice when you don't feel like it, listening to direction, taking direction, persevering through disappointment, coming back to try again, cheering for other swimmers, feeling the pride of accomplishment when you achieve something you thought impossible...these things are all valuable for life. And, so, once again I am taken with the metaphor of sport as life.
Every race I watched on Saturday was inspiring. I almost tear up at everyone. It could be hormonal, I'll grant that. But, I think it's just the power of seeing courage on display. It moves me.
Wylie and Campbell and McKenna and all the swimmers are very courageous.
That's worth a few dollars in a bargain for the future.