A few years ago, I had my first swim team experience as a sideline cheerleader.
I had a few kids at camp return home to swim in a meet the evening camp ended. So, as any good kids pastor would do the night of returning home from camp, I promised to show up to the swim meet.
It was hot, overwhelming, loud, busy and I thought to myself
never will my kids be doing this.
Well here we are five years later and guess what this parent-kids pastor is doing? Hanging by the pool, cheering on masses of swimmers including my own at swim meets.
This was an unexpected gift we got this year. My 6 year old was still working through her skills to be a safe swimmer when summer break started. She had a few lessons to kick off the swim season, and the coach said she was ready for pre-team. Pre-team is a more structured group lesson every day before swim team practice in preparation for swim team.
Well after two pre-team practices, my kiddo found herself registered for the swim meet that night. This was all new to my husband and I because neither of us had a swim team experience.
So we showed up, and we had no idea what we were doing. I knew a little of what to expect, because five years ago I went to a swim meet for all of 20 minutes.
My kid got her events, wrote them on her hand, and she was stoked! And one thing I love most about being a parent is feeding off what makes my kids come alive.
So we listened and watched and asked questions and then it was her turn. She was up for backstroke, and her confidence was not strong in this but man when she wants something, she is ALL in.
As she waited by the edge of the pool, I watched kid after kid high five her and encourage her.
Then in the pool she goes. I think this mama was more nervous than her kid, but the buzzer sounded and off she went.
I looked around the pool, and loads of people where cheering her on!
Being cheered for as she took that first lap down the pool.
I had never been more proud to be a part of something that was so FOR my kid.
She did it, and she did a great job. That night I received texts and facebook messages of encouragement and pictures of my kid swimming her events from people I had just began a relationship with.
And so I have to think, Church:
What are we doing? Are we cheering on those we hardly know?
Are we encouraging those around us?
Are we starting relationships with no agenda?
Being a part of the swim team for honestly just half the season has taught me so much about community.
It has taught me we are better together.
This is an individual, highly competitive sport. Yet the better your teammate does, the better your team does. We watched five and six year olds doling out high fives to each other as they started a competitive race. That has been taught by a coach who knows what’s important.
It has taught me we are to be FOR each other no matter the cost.
Having a community rally around my kid at her first event at her first meet spoke volumes to me as one who had just entered this community, a community that I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to be a part of. Swim team is a big commitment. It’s hot, it’s hours and hours long, but it has also awoken something in my kid and in myself as her parent.
It has taught me when you love something, it doesn’t matter how the big the commitment is. My kid has tried several things. But the passion and willingness to get up early and do this every day for a matter of weeks has taught me the importance of doing what you love.
I am proud of my kid every day. I am proud of her when she tries new things. I am proud of her when she gives her best and even when she comes up short. I am proud of her determination.
I am thankful for a coach who saw something in my kid and lots of other kids and encourages them to be their best.
I am proud to be a part of this community of swim team swimmers, parents, and coaches who cheer each other on and who are FOR each other.
Come on, church! Let’s take a note from the swim team book and be the community that loves and encourages and is FOR one another.