Courtesy: Andrew Ray Crockett
I’m abruptly awoken as my wife gives me a kiss on the cheek and tells me “have a good day. I love you. Take care of Waylan.” She is off to her shift at the hospital. A sleepy thumbs up is all I could muster to let her know I heard her. It’s 3 a.m., still time for 2 hours of sleep before my alarm for morning practice. One of the best things in the world is realizing you get more sleep, akin to finding 20 dollars in an old pair of jeans. I happily fall back asleep for what seems like 5 minutes.
5:15 a.m. My alarm goes off. I grab the baby monitor, clumsily make my way to the bathroom and brush my teeth before sneaking past my sons room and heading downstairs. I put on a pot of coffee and grab a protein bar to eat on the 15 minute drive to the pool.
5:28 a.m. My poor Mother pulls into my driveway to watch the baby while I coach. She is greeted by 300 pounds of fur and excitement split between 2 dogs as they hold her hostage at the front door. She makes her way into the baby gated section of the house which is free of dogs.
5:30 a.m. One last check of the baby monitor reveals he is now standing in a full diaper, moments from crying. I rush upstairs in the hopes to put him back to sleep before he fully wakes up. Those hopes are quickly dashed. He is up until his next nap. I hand him over to my mother and whisper “sorry”, to her as I walk out the door. I forget my protein bar and coffee. Going to be a long morning practice.
6 a.m. Morning practice begins. We’re focusing on kick work this morning.
8 a.m. I pull back into the driveway and rush inside to relieve my mom. Finding Nemo is on the TV. Waylan is being cradled back to sleep but wakes up when I enter the room. I pick him up and thank my mom. “He was great, you smell like chlorine”, she says as she hands him over. I am relieved to know he did not cause chaos for our free and loving child care in my absence. I make us breakfast. With food in our stomachs, everything is right in the world for a moment.
9:27 a.m. Waylan is starting to show signs that he has been awake far too long. He is rubbing his 10 month old eyes. He is crying that I am not holding him and wrestling to get out of being held when I do. I cannot win. Beaten by a tiny monster of my own making.
9:34 a.m. Waylan falls asleep. I snag a quick picture for my wife to let her know I am doing a good job taking care of him. I fight the urge to hold him and fall asleep with him. I have work to do and nap time is the best opportunity to be productive. I put Waylan in his crib, turn on the noise maker and baby monitor then tip toe out the room. Maybe I can sneak in a workout in the garage? Worth a shot.
9:57 a.m. I finish my last set of warm ups in the garage. I tell myself I didn’t just hear him crying on the baby monitor. Seconds later he is at the loudest volume his lungs can muster. No denying it now, this workout is over. Time to be a dad again. I have a coaches meeting at 1 before our 3 o’clock “National” level group practice. I need to prepare and write workouts for my groups tonight. Maybe he will let me get some work done with him? Worth a shot again.
10:30 a.m. Waylan is fed again and happy. I sit on the ground and use the couch as a table to try and get work down while he plays. Waylan uses me as a jungle gym to climb and the golden prize for reaching the top? My laptop and notebook. Waylan somehow manages to hit the smallest button on the computer effectively shutting it down. I set him down beside me and take a deep breath. He is unhappy to have found himself back on the ground. I try and use the notebook instead. Waylan is more determined than ever, he rips out the page I am working on before I could get it out of his mighty grip. Creativity and patience go out the window.
12:25 p.m. I pack up the traveling circus of diapers, snacks, milk, toys and my backpack. Waylan and I board my old truck and drive to his grandma’s house. She is watching him again along with 2 of his cousins while I am on deck tonight. My wife will pick him up when she gets off work at 5 p.m.
1 p.m. 2 hour bi-monthly planning meeting. We outline our daily goals and coaching roles for the group. Swimmers and parents often don’t see the hours of planning that go into writing workouts. Thought, emotion and personal touches are added to each workout.
3 p.m. 2 hour “National” level practice begins. I am a new coach to this team and this group. They don’t know me well yet. 75% of the athletes listen to and respect me. 25% seem skeptical of me and my credentials to coach them. I do what I can to show them I am capable and qualified.
5 p.m. My group of our 11-14 year olds get in the water. I used to eat dinner around this time. I am starting to feel the first stages of hangry and tired. My wife sends me pictures of our son playing before she puts him to bed. My heels are hurting, I’ve got to remember to buy some inserts.
6:45 p.m. My last group gets in. 10 and Unders. They are excited to get in and learn. I have to put hunger and tiredness on the back burner. They will eat me alive if I can’t match their energy. We work on the foundations that will transfer to higher levels in our program.
7:45 p.m. Last group gets out of the water. We get together and do a little cheer and talk about the highlights of our practice. I am ready to go home, eat dinner and spend time with my wife.
8:02 p.m. I’ve been waiting in the lobby. Coaches don’t leave until the last swimmer is picked up by a known adult. The last swimmer makes their way out. I thank the lifeguards for staying after closing and make my way to the car. It will be my first time sitting down in 5 hours. I’m greatly looking forward to it.
8:20 p.m. I walk through the door and greet my wife. We talk about our day and about our son. She’s tired. I’m tired. Waylan has been asleep since 6:30. Our days have been long. We both agree we want to go to bed. I quietly go kiss my son goodnight. We watch some Netflix then its lights out.
5:15 a.m. Alarm goes off. Masters morning practice.
About Andrew Ray Crockett
Coach Drew is an Assistant Head Coach for 757Swim in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has coached all levels and ages of swimmers for the past 9 years. Drew lives with his wife Becca and 10 month old son Waylan in Toano, Virginia.