I could tell you, The Coop is a champion. I could tell you he earned several top finish ribbons. I could tell you he improved his times in every race week-to-week. I could tell you he swam more meters than any of us ever expected. I could tell you he's faster than I could have imagined. I could tell you his best event is an event a former coach told him he'd never excel in. I could tell you... but I won't.
(Ummmm.... look at his face! Do you think he wants to win?!??!)
What I will tell you is that he is dedicated. For that, I am the most proud of him I have ever been. Nearly every day his father and I sit back and say, "I am so proud of that little guy. Who knew he could do this?!?!"
When we naively registered for swim team we were gobstopped at the duty they expected. The coaches suggested swimmers practice every day, every week. We balked when they told us what time practice started. We groaned when we discovered how many volunteer hours it takes to be a swim team family. But Cooper, he did not.
He woke up every early morning. He attended every meet. He competed in every race he qualified for. He never left a relay team standing waiting for him. He met his commitment. What's more, I never had to coax, convince, or bribe him to do it. He did it with a smile.
Sometimes that meant outdoor practices when the temperatures where barely 60 degrees. On Saturdays that meant waking up at 6 a.m. and warm-up in frigid waters at 7 a.m. (This for a boy accustomed to a kindergarten 9:05 start time.) Other days it was waiting for hours just to swim for 30 seconds. And at times it meant that mother and dad were timing other swimmers when they wanted to be cheering for Cooper swimming in another lane.
It also meant I spent hours and hours with my son. We traveled together, chatted, and bonded, and played games. I learned to follow his lead. He had specific ideas of where he wanted us to stand, how he wanted us to cheer, and which towel we were to have at the finish. I always suspected that this one had no fear. But now I know. He loves to win. He loves to do well. And he loves a big bag of Skittles.
And I love the big family of supportive friends called swim team. Swim team families are devoted and enthusiastic. And though swimming is an individual sport on the surface, it takes the whole team for each swimmer to swim in a well-run meet. We met some incredible people. And I found that I love cheering for other children as much as my own. Our coaches defended our children, protected their interests, and taught them something about themselves.
Now for the bragging. Cooper proved he is a force in the pool. With experience, he could be great. He qualified for championships. And when he competed in championships today, he surpassed ALL of our expectations.
He's already asking about next year!
PHOTO NOTE: to see more pictures, click here.