(Let me just pause to stab myself in the heart.)
Ling's awakened every morning at 4:15 a.m. to be picked up by 4:40 to swim by 5. After following the bad advice of her YMCA swim coach to not swim with the high school team last year, she started this year as a sophomore. As an extremely shy and introverted girl, she felt totally insecure about joining late. Everyone else had already made friends and she was odd girl out.
But she kept showing up for practice. She kept swimming. And because she actually can butterfly (a stroke I've never even learned!), she swam butterfly in 2 events every single meet. She's improved her swim times. She's made a lot of cheerful acquaintances, if not actual friends. Most importantly, she's been a part of a team.
|The swim meet in Sudbury that took an hour to drive to and from--in rush hour|
At the Winchester Country Club, 39 girls with great toned arms in teeny dresses and teenier skirts revealed their "Secret Swimmer" status and gave each other their final "Secret Swimmer" gifts. They sat together while parents drank wine and commiserated about 4 a.m. wake up times.
I had a great time despite the woman next to me saying, "They let you in with jeans?" pointing at my skirt. "They usually kick you out for wearing denim! You can't wear anything like that here!"
We went to the banquet not knowing what to expect (as made extremely clear by my neighbor's comments). Ling thought she might letter, but lost the scoring sheet so didn't know if she'd earned enough points. But no matter what she achieved we wanted to support Ling. And after doing the dump run fundraiser, the ovarian cancer fundraiser, and paying for all sorts of swim paraphernalia, I wanted the one free parent meal (paying $30 for Scott).
So imagine our surprise and delight when she not only earned a Varsity letter but also "Rookie of the Year!" The coach praised her for giving her all, and always being willing to jump in and compete in whatever the coach threw at her.
How did my spawn actually achieve such athletic glory?
First quarter sophomore year, I got a C+ in PE. Mama looked at that grade, laughed and said, "PE is the only area you're allowed to get a C." I pulled my PE grades up to the B range for the rest of the year, but student/athlete I was NOT.
I'm the 4 year old kid who Mama put in ballet because I was such a klutz. She hoped ballet would teach me some grace. I became more graceful--neighborhood kids incessantly teased me that when I walked it looked like I was dancing--but I was still a klutz.
I walk into sofas and doors and walls. I shut my trunk on my pinky while telling a friend how bad I am at knowing where my body lies in space.
I may be a Chinese Tiger mom who got her only high school C in PE. I may embarrass humiliate myself and my daughter by wearing denim to the Winchester Country Club. I may still have not a single sports bone in my body. But I'm sure proud of my girl.
And so glad she doesn't take after me.