My 8-year-old has been on swim team for 3 years, and my 6-year-old for 1 year. Three years in, I am a seasoned Swim Team Mom. I attend behind-the-scenes meetings in the wintertime to help ensure meet planning goes smoothly for our team during the summer months. I must admit, it was a little surreal attending swim team meetings in the snow, but it takes a lot of hard work to make the organized chaos of swim meets run like clockwork.
However, 3 years ago, I was a doe-eyed newbie. Here is how I was initiated to my first swim meet…
We were told to arrive at the pool by 4:45. When we arrived, it was raining. I figured they would call a rain delay and we would all go home after a few minutes. That is when I learned about the complex rain delay protocol and that sometimes a meet is not called off for hours when thundering. I even learned that if it was raining, but you could still see the bottom of the pool, the meet was still a go!
I erroneously thought the entire thing would be OVER by 7pm, rain delay or not. I was not prepared for the revelry of the meet – kids were playing chase, running around, full of energy and the noise was ear splitting. And then there was the food (or in my case, lack of food).
Since I thought we might not get home until around 7, I had shoved a few granola bars into my bag before I arrived, thinking that would be enough provisions for the meet. As the rain delay wore on, people brought more and more food. Pizzas. Buckets of chicken. Coolers stuffed with veggie trays and fruit trays. We are talking about substantial foodstuffs. I had no such foodstuffs. I finally found a familiar face and told my friend that I had only brought a few granola bars. She turned and looked at me, horrified. “Oh no! Fiona, you HAVE TO BRING FOOD! We will be here for HOURS!” This was becoming readily apparent, as more pizzas were arriving. Although most pools have snack bars, this was closed due to the rain delay. I desperately called my husband who was caring for my younger son. It went straight to voicemail. I left him a message about the situation, but since it was so loud, apparently he could not hear me. He called back and left me a phone message (since I never heard the phone),
“Well, at least they have food there!” As I listened to the message, I whined, “NO! I don’t have food! THEY have food!” I called him back, left another message and told him that I only had granola bars, that we needed more food and would not be home any time soon. About 30 minutes later, my sweet husband arrived with additional provisions – granola bars, which was apparently the only thing that he heard in my message.
3 years later, I can laugh about it, but in the moment, my sense of humor utterly failed me. And now, I can appreciate that sometimes the rain delay is the most fun part of the meet for my kids. Now when I see doe-eyed newbies at a meet, I always take the opportunity to pass on what I have learned along the way.
For information on how to start the swim season off with a splash, check out Kate Hall’s article on top 5 things I’ve learned as a Newbie Swim Team Mom. And don’t forget the food.