During the summer months my three kids all swim on the Worthington Wave swim team. They have meets on Wednesday evenings and on Saturday mornings, and when our team swims at home, we swim in the Worthington Pools natatorium.
Swimming in the natatorium is a real experience. The pool area is packed with spectators and competitors. The temperature inside rises throughout the meet and a giant display board lists the competitors and their times in each of the 80 events.
In order for meets to run there is a need for many volunteers. The organizers need timers, parents to help swimmers get to the correct event, parents to announce the events, parents to label the ribbons for the winners, etc… I did not grow-up swimming and so three years ago when my kids began to swim it was culture shock! Now, I understand the drill…. and usually that means that I buy my meet sheet (list of events and competitors), find a seat in the stands, play on my phone for 68 events, and watch my kids swim their 12 events which last roughly 25 seconds each. (The meet lasts close to three hours!)
Last night however was different. Like most youth sports activities when your child signs up they tell you about your volunteer requirements. The need for volunteers is real, and in our house I was content to allow my wife to do the volunteering. I figured, she’s the better half anyway, and thus the swim team was getting a good deal. She would often remind me that I need to volunteer, and I would dutifully say I understand and then passively ignore the request.
Well, she did it. She went and signed me up to be a timer for the meet. Last night when I arrived to sit contently for three hours and play on my phone, I was instead given a name tag, a timer for one hand, and an electronic scoreboard timer for the other hand. For eighty events I would stand by the pool in lane 4 and keep times. When the horn blew I was to start the clock in my right hand and when the swimmer touched the wall I was to stop both the clock in my right hand and the electronic timer in my left hand. Yikes! I was feeling some serious pressure. What if I forgot to hit start? Staying focused for 80 events is a lot for 40-year-old guy. What if I hit the electronic timer too early and the crowd thought the winner was in lane 4 when the winner was really in lane 1? Timing I found out was serious work!
While I stressed about doing this correctly, staying focused, and keeping the time, my co-timer, Madison Simeone was calm, cool and collected. She never wavered. She never seemed nervous. She stayed focused and she even cheered on her brother and friends. By the way, Madison just finished sixth grade at Wilson Hill Elementary and will be a new seventh grader a Kilbourne Middle School in August.
What I thought was a challenge; Madison thought was a walk in the park. That’s our kids today. They can do infinitely more than we sometimes give them credit for. I on the other hand, will hopefully be watching from the stands again soon. Now, I’ll be cheering on my kids, and cheering on Madison as she times!