Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
The current closure of pools, practices and meets reminded me of a meet ten years ago when my daughter was faced with a choice to take an opportunity to race or pass on it.
We were at Winter Junior Olympics at the beautiful, but now closed Belmont Pool in Long Beach, Calif. Morning prelims had ended and we were driving though pouring rain back to the hotel for food and rest. My cell phone rang and the coach asked if we could come back to the pool ASAP. My 13-year-old daughter was in a swim-off for second alternate in the 500 free! She had just swum it and wasn’t thrilled to swim another 500 so soon.
Her coach told her she didn’t have to swim it, it was unlikely she’d get to swim in finals. But he said, “I always say, take every opportunity to swim.” She agreed and the net result was she won with a personal best time and began a life-long friendship with the swimmer she raced. She learned she had more grit and stamina than she previously thought. It was a real turning point for her in her swimming career with self-confidence. It would have been much easier to get lunch and nap rather than swim a 500 tired and put herself out there.
Today, while I’m sitting at home with a “shelter in place” mandate, I look back over the past months where I made excuses and missed my Masters practices repeatedly. I’d give anything today to have those practices back with my coach and friends — and feel that wonderful tiredness and hunger after practice. I missed out on the opportunity to push myself and improve. Yes, I have regrets.
When things get back to normal, maybe we will learn from this overwhelming experience. Hopefully, things will return to how it used to be—but we will take with us with an attitude of “I don’t ‘have’ to, I ‘get’ to.”
Here are six takeaways from the COVID-19 experience:
Don’t take things for granted.
Be grateful for what we do have.
It’s all about friends and family.
Take advantage of every opportunity so there are no regrets.
Change always happens and we need to be flexible.
Attitude is the only thing in our control.
What has your experience with COVID-19 taught you and your family?
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.