Woop! Woop! Swim parents: GOOOOOOO!
My Sentiments Exactly
Swim parents. We’re a breed unto ourselves, to be certain.
Take one glance and it’s clear that we aren’t your typical sports moms and dads. Or aunts and uncles, grammas and grampas, or general fans of float. We don’t cuss, fuss or tell the coach how to wrangle his school of fish. We’re different.
In no other sport does a single, shrill, well-timed yelp (no, not the online recommendation sort), trill tooth-whistle or high-pitched WOOP mean so much. Parents of breast-strokers get it. Actually, some tend to get carried away with the ritual, which is what the other swim ‘rents wish for when it starts making our ears bleed. I digress.
Not on any other platform does the low, slow, deep utterance of a mono syllabic, two-letter word pack such a wallop. GGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOO!
Oh, and BTW, only we can pull off the ridiculously wild, forward shaking, open-palmed, side-hand wave as a sign of fierce support and symbol of unrelenting allegiance.
Speaking of platforms, our kids use them to perform death-defying acts of aerial acrobatics, fearlessly flinging themselves head-first straight down into the bottom of the pool. Like, on purpose!
Look, in our eyes, our sons are all Michael Phelps and our daughters are all Katie Ladecky, you dig?
That’s why we’re only too happy to travel to obscure towns for a solid eight hours — one way — in the middle of the storm of the century, past 47 spinouts and the abominable snowman himself, merely to sit in a chlorine-soaked sauna on bum-bruising wooden planks, er, bleachers ALL DAY.
Did I mention we’re shoved shoulder to shoulder with some grumpy Gus (who’s cheering loudly for the OTHER team, natch), behind Andre the Giant (because we wanted to record this race) and directly in front of that one gal who insists on taking off her shoes and resting her bare tootsies beneath our snack bag (’cause that’s ENTIRELY sanitary and not at ALL inappropriate).
Here we sweat, I mean sit, for several more hours just to glimpse our children compete for 20.02 seconds … and hopefully even briefer.
Yet, we are an evolved group of homo sapiens. We cheer for any swimmer or diver performing well (though we prefer them to be on OUR team, thanks) and encourage our offspring to graciously wish well toward, then congratulate, their lane mates on a race well swum. Every. Single. Time.
And they do.
Why? In my experience, swimmers / divers are an exceptional group of athletes… and persons. They just are.
They work as hard in the classroom as in the faux lagoon. Probably because they are forced to practice good time management skills.
Moreover, these humans are humane. Meaning, I am hard-pressed to think of many who do not offer respect to elders (yes sirs, thank you ma’ams, Mr. and Mrs. salutations), common courtesy to strangers (holding open doors) and a loyalty to one another that I’ve not always encountered on other fields of play, literal or metaphorical.
These are the sort of people who, although their hearts are broken at being robbed of a school record due to a dubious DQ in the championship’s last event, will rally around each other in a show of unending loyalty that is nothing short of familial.
And that warms a swim mom’s heart on the ride home through a blustery blizzard — as she smiles proudly for eight solid hours, capsice?
Kimerer is the world’s proudest swim mom. Float her a line at www.patriciakimerer.com