I almost made the Olympic Team.
I competed in 3 Olympic Trials (1988, 1992 and 1996) and my highest place was 8th place. Unfortunately in the events I swam only the top 2 made the team.
It has been 12 years since I swam competitively and to this day, when the sunlight and the air is just right, on a Saturday morning, I can take a deep breathe in and smell the pool and become engulfed in the atmosphere of a swim meet or an early morning workout.
Every 4 years when the Summer Olympics rolls around, I find myself glued to the Television. Often staying up well, past midnight to get in all the swimming events I can watch. I cry for the victories and the losses. I stand up, I cheer, and in my heart, I wish I was there.
Especially now, with the new suits and that amazing pool. Beijing, today’s technology, or shall we say suit-ology, has created the “perfect storm”. Sure, if you aren’t an Olympian or a World record holder, I highly doubt that pool or that suit will “make” you good. But it has to play a little bit mentally too, just because you have the talent and the determination, swimming, like any sport becomes a mind game and it is easy to talk, or shall I say doubt, yourself out of a great race.
Anyway, I loved swimming, still do. But I loved competing.
The adrenaline and anticipation.
I loved it.
I got a lot from swimming: I traveled around the world, met lots of great people and learned a lot about myself. I learned, it may sound cliche, but, what the mind believes the body achieves. I learned to have confidence, I learned how to win and just as importantly how to loose. But most importantly I think I learned swimming isn’t everything. At the end of the day, you have family, you have friends and you have a life ahead of you, where most people really don’t care how fast you swam the 100 butterfly.
Dreams are what keep you alive, striving for more and motivate you to live.
But at the end of the day, your family, will not care whether or not you made the Olympic Team. but they will love you for what you have become for for striving for your dream and believing in yourself.
I hope that my kids will learn through sports what I learned.
I hope that I won’t be one of those crazy parents on the sideline.
And that, although rejoicing in their victories and their triumphs and crying in their defeats, that I will stand back and let my kids have fun and become their own person, their own athlete.
I hope I will let their dreams, be “their” dreams.
But, I will be at the Olympics one day.
Maybe not as an athlete, although I am seriously motivated by Dara Torres.
But maybe as a spectator, a volunteer or maybe the parent of an athlete.
I dream to enhale the spirit of the Olympics, the spirit of competition.