Sunday, December 07, 2008

Lily the swimmer

So the swim team thing with Lily is kinda cool. She takes lessons on Saturdays at the Y and each 6-week session has a different teacher, with a different style of teaching. Her latest teacher makes them swim a lot of yardage, like 400-500 yards at a lesson, and my drama queen is complaining. She says she gets a cramp, and she's tired, and she can't breathe, and she hates diving off the starting block because her goggles get mushed onto her face (I hate that too). I said I'd talk to the teacher.

So yesterday before I went on the treadmill, I talked to the swim teacher. There happen to be two Lily's in the class, and the teacher was trying to get clear on which one I was the mother of. I kept telling her my Lily was the taller one, and she kept saying, which one is she? which one? like she couldn't believe me. I was like, uh, yeah, that's my kid, the taller one, what's the big deal? I didn't get it.

Then along comes my Lily and the three of us chat a bit and she appears to feel reassured that she won't be pushed too hard. Go swim a 50 back, says the teacher, and Lily gets in the pool and starts to swim the back stroke. A 50 means two lengths of a 25-yard pool, up and back. And she takes off like she's being chase. Within a few strokes she's ahead of the (big) boy next to her who started out before her and was a half a lane ahead of her. She has this gorgeous, smooth stroke, and it looks incredible on her perfect swimmer's body -- all legs and long arms too, strong shoulders, and no body fat. The teacher and I are watching her swim down the pool and I started laughing and the teacher did too. Now you see why I was surprised! she kept saying.

Have you considered the team, the teacher asked me, and that gave me pause. I've been waiting for someone to mention it, but I wasn't sure Lily was ready or in shape enough. Truth be told, I am dying for her to do it, for many reasons: First of all, she loves, loves, loves to swim. The discipline of a team and a coach would be fabulous for her. She's really good at it now but she would get much better. She'd met a lot of other girls around her age, also all drama queens, the teacher tells me, and she'd get to go to meets and have fun.

We talked about it after class and Lily was excited by the idea, although she said she wanted to improve her breast stroke first and get comfortable enough to swim a 500. Makes sense to me. But then she switched, almost imperceptibly, into, naw, I don't want to, and kinda whiny. Yes it would be a ton of time and work, getting her there for a 90-minute practice two or three times a week,not to mention meets, and when would she do her homework, and when would she sleep, and she's been struggling with those tasks so much already. I obviously have my own ambivalence, but it was almost funny how quickly she went from excited to scared and tried to pass it off as something else.

I kind of think it might be good for her in other ways too, like help her become more organized and on the ball -- does she have too much open-ended time right now, too much unscheduled time? I thought I would never be a sports mom. I might be a theater mom, and it looks like I'm a chorus mom (her first concert with the Northampton Children's Choir is Thursday) but sports? Who knows. Stranger things have happened.

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