Courtesy of Donna Hale
In this decade and a half of being a swim mom, I’ve learned so much about sportsmanship, winning, losing, and embracing the moments. I had the privilege of watching my little girl fall in love with something, and pursue it with reckless abandon. Every year there are challenges, but there are also blessings. As we approach Thanksgiving, here are the top ten blessings my family has enjoy from being a part of swimming.
1. We’ve all made amazing friends that span the nation and that thrive during the triumphs and tough times. Swim families rock! You can count on them alwAys.
2. My swimmer and I have a support network that is like family. They are her cheerleaders and support my child as if she were theirs. I try to do the same for them. Chlorine is thicker than blood.
3. You learn just how much the little things matter. There are setbacks, but there are comebacks. You learn to work through them with character and grace. Life lessons are all around you
4. You realize you are part of something bigger than you ever imagined. Every meet we attend, even the college ones, I hear stories of what the sport has done for athletes. Heartwarming and magical.
5. Once your child is in college you see places you’d probably never go on your own. Quaint small towns where life is simplistic. But you realize there are hidden treasures everywhere you go. Open your eyes and savor.
6. You get to see your child become independent and resourceful. Every moment they grow up a little more. You don’t need to tell them to pack extra food, cool down, or take care of their fastsuit. You’ve done your job so now they can shine.
7. Winning or losing is not the endgame. It’s giving something your best, accepting the outcome good or bad, and trying again tomorrow. It is the climb – the journey
8. You realize how much every moment means. One day this will end. All things one day end. Be a part of it whenever you can. These moments matter. Pursue them.
9. You also realize that nothing is for certain. So live in these moment. My swimmer has had her share of injuries. Her friends have endured surgery and rehab. You probably learn more from loss than from success.
10. Being in the game and giving it your all makes you a winner. The only true failure is giving up – and is in not pursuing your dreams. Persistence is a gift. As my daughter has said, give every day, practice, and race your all. Everything good comes after that.
Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 12 years as well as executive of several nonprofit organizations. She volunteers regularly for her daughter Hannah’s USA Team The Potomac Marlins, summer team Burke Station Destroyers, and Lake Braddock Swim and Dive Bruins.