Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feb. 17: Spectating

Just back from watching Elder swim the opening heats for the State swim meet. He did really well, improving substantially in his two individual events and also having his relay qualify, again with a much improved time despite a slower swimmer filling in for the regular who quit. He is not a long-time swimmer, having just started last year, and only adding the Y team this year in addition to his h.s. team. So BH and I have a lot to learn about meets in general, but it's also interesting to watch other parents spectate, and to think about spectating in itself.

For example, I'm delighted for Elder: he loves swimming, loves his teammates, and has worked very hard this year, so it's great that he's done so well to date. However, why should I be delighted? I did absolutely nothing except provide food, some very generalized encouragement, and some advice on how to shave the backs of his legs! Elder is not the family guy Younger is: our early instructions were to just cheer, "and don't give any advice, just say, Yay! And you can yell my name." This year he will come to visit while we're in the stands, and he does catch our eyes and smile when he's done well. But he will just tell us not to bother to come if he feels he's not going to swim well, or if the meet's a long way away, or if it's a long one and he knows we're busy. So this is very much Elder's effort and Elder's events, and we're pleased just to spectate.

Similarly, we don't pamper much: other kids on his team stayed in a hotel room overnight to . . . rest up, I guess, and to have a place to rest between this morning and finals tonight. At $100 and without the team's sanction, however, we said nope, and he seems none the worse for wear. As someone who had to kick and scream to get her parents to her high school athletic events, I feel that a dose of parental apathy does, sometimes, keep things in perspective. Granted, one of Elder's teammates is getting a full ride to college: such is not our boy, and he can have a great time and learn a lot and stay fit without the latest swimskin (paid for by us, at least; if he works for it and buys it, great!) or a hotel room.

So I am awaiting the evening's results with interest. I came back for Library Trustees and to keep Younger, who had both show choir and jazz band today, company. We'll see how the times go, and how pleased Elder is when he reappears.

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