I really thought our boys' swimming team days were over. Elliott had never been on the team. Ian swam two summers ago and seemed to like it but decided last summer he didn't want to do it anymore. So I was a bit surprised when I came home from work one evening this past spring and discovered the boys were thinking about joining the team this summer.
Katie's always been big on the boys swimming. Because the boys swimming means she's hanging with the other swim moms each morning. And swim team moms put soccer moms to shame when it comes to creating a social gathering. They meet at the pool every summer morning, turn the kids over to coach, drink mimosas and talk about the challenges of motherhood - and likely wifehood - until the final whistle blows and they remember they actually brought kids to the party. So my immediate thought was Katie bribed them with video games or a playmate for Fritz to join the team.
At dinner that night I asked the boys, all a part of the investigation I'd suddenly launched, so tell me boys, what are the reasons you do and don't want to be on the swim team. I was sure this would stump them. Especially Ian, my younger one. I fully expected him to say he didn't want Fritz to grow up an only dog. That wasn't his answer though. He said he liked swimming, he wanted to hang out with his friends, but the meets were too long and that was the reason he didn't want to join the team. (Exactly. Long meets pal. You should really focus hard on that point).
Elliott had a similar plus list. Hang out with the friends and swim a lot. His negative was a bit different, and one I wish he hadn't told me. He said he didn't want to swim because it would be embarassing if he finished last in the races.
Wrong answer, because now I was fully committed to getting Katie to her summer social. Many things have come easy to Elliott, so I knew the fact that he was hesitating to join the team because he was worried about not doing well was the exact reason he had to be on the team. Shoot, now I was ready to rescue a dog if that's what was required.
I spent the next few days subtly encouraging the boys to join. I'm sure Katie was far less subtle - cleaning the house in her swimsuit while drinking those mimosas likely sent a strong message. So the heat was on. Especially on Elliott. I may have been whispering "swim team" in his ear while he slept at night.
In the end, both boys said "we're in."
Over the next couple of weeks he got some extra coaching attention to help him get more comfortable in the water. This week he earned his first ribbon at a meet and got personal best times in both events he swam in. It's clear, though, swimming doesn't come easy to him, which is great. We talk all the time that the secret to greatness is getting great at overcoming adversity. And believe me, swimming has presented Elliott adversity.
The other good piece of that equation is what it does for Ian. Ian the little brother. Always trying to keep up with big brother and always coming up just a step short. Swimming gives Ian a chance to shine in the sibling rivalry. He already has a collection of ribbons. And he's not so sly in his willingness to give his brother some pointers on how to improve. Ian's enjoyed turning the table and taking a seat at the victor's throne for a spell.
I don't know what they'll say when it's time to register next year. But for now they're enjoying time in the water with friends, and mama's enjoying the poolside social with the swim moms club.