Written and courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
We’ve all seen the parent who comes unglued at a swim meet—or perhaps we’ve been that parent ourselves. With emotions running high, swim meets can be a hotbed of outrageous behavior. I’ve watched parents berate their children for adding time and storm out of meets. Last week, I watched in horror as a parent yelled across the pool at a coach. Where do these histrionics come from?
When we’re wrapped up in how our kids are performing, sometimes the worst comes out in us. In my opinion, it’s the traits that make swim parents so great that can be a double-edged sword and spark an action we’d like to take back. Don’t get me wrong, swim parents can be the most generous, enthusiastic and fun people. Occasionally, a swim parent has one of “those moments” that gives us all a bad rap.
Here are three traits that make swim parents the best—but can cause problems if left unchecked:
I love swimming and being a swim parent. I think swimming is one of the best activities our family has ever been involved in and has shaped my children with grit, personal responsibility and determination. We have to be passionate about swimming to volunteer, drive to the pool before sunrise, and tailor our schedules around practice and meets for years.
Swim parents are involved in their children’s lives. We all want the best for our kids, academically, socially and athletically. We volunteer in the community, school and at the pool to make our world better. I’ve rarely met swim parents who aren’t involved in their kids’ lives.
Often swim parents are former athletes themselves, and usually are pretty successful in their work. Even without athletic backgrounds, we may still have that competitive bug. Have you ever noticed how many “A-type” parents are running around the pool deck?
What traits do you see swim parents having that can be viewed as a blessing and a curse?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog: http://bleuwater.me/.