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This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from club coach Alexandra Platusich-Morgan.
On Thursday, March 12, at 2:48pm, I get a text that reads “They just canceled the high school meet.” The Michigan High School Boys State Meets were to begin with prelims the following morning. My club assistant coaches who run the team had started practice for the 4 qualified guys at 2:30pm. Not sure how to proceed, they said they just ran the practice in its entirety.
Later that night, we announced to our Cruiser kids at our club practice that our own MI 13-14 & Open State meet was canceled as well, finding out late the night before. Our State meet was 7 days out.
Rumors were flying around that they may shut down the schools next Wednesday, still 5 days away. So I wrote out two “fake” state meet scenarios that we could run at practice, one that stretched over three practices, one that started on Saturday in 2 days… It was Thursday, which was a day we normally suit up for anyway. But as we talked to the kids, we decided to throw some touchpads in and make it more official and start racing that night. There was a lot of emotion, maybe we could harness it in the pool.
At 9:49pm, our Sectional meet in Indiana was canceled. Before midnight, still that Thursday, it was announced that the schools would shut down immediately after the Friday school day, literally the next day. Our athletic director would give us an hour to get out whatever swim equipment we could carry; no telling when we would be allowed to return.
That was one week ago, last Thursday. Little did we know that our “Treat Every Day Like It’s Your Last Day to Race” would actually turn into our ACTUAL last day to race. So much to process: seniors that were suddenly done and ending on best times, 14-year olds going Sectionals times at practice, a whole heat of 200 fliers with only one day of rest under their belts… The HS boys just staring at heat sheets. Our two Senior boys seeded 1-2 in the fly.
In the days that followed, I wanted to reach out to our Open State & Sectional kids and our HS Boys that were preparing for their HS States and express … something. Geez, anything!
I, too, had felt that I had constructed a brick house that could withstand everything this year. A lot of time, energy, emotion, physical and mental feats of strength, failure and successes, had already been used to build this season. A lot of precision planning.
And it was still blown over. And really, really quickly.
And I didn’t want anything to do with the pieces on the ground anymore.
I wanted to kick it. And then I wanted to turn around and leave it there.
I definitely didn’t want to start picking it up.
But within days I started hearing stories of our kids meeting up and doing dryland over Facetime and Skype. And when I offered up our dryland equipment, the requests came within seconds. The kids were already picking up the pieces, regardless of the weight; they were already moving on.
Maybe they did understand the true meaning of swimming: the clock times will come and go, but the relationships are the foundation of memories.
It’s time to move on. And build something different (because we may not be seeing water for 3-8+ weeks). Challenges are healthy, right? (although, not easy); I just gotta pull my boots back on.
And, as a coach, let the kids motivate me to move on.
Because, honestly, I’m still reeling from all this.
Co-Head Coach of the Plymouth-Canton Cruisers