Split Second

This weekend I got to experience the up-side to the difference a split second can make. Lately it feels like life is changing by the second and in the blink of an eye everything is changed, finished or over.

Yesterday in the blink of an eye another thing was over, something changed and I saw the finish. And it was glorious. This ending, this change was good and positive.

In a split second there was triumph.

200 meter relay. OCONEE county swim championship at the UGA natatorium. It’s a grand stage. Race 20. We are in lane 4-the fastest seed. Lane 3 holds our biggest rivals. The summer hill boys are swimming stronger and faster than ever. It’s ours to lose.

“Racers take your mmmaaaarrkkk,” Colton pulls himself up to the ready position. He’s all sinewy muscle. The whistle blows and they are off. One by one the swimmers pop up but the boy in the middle-my boy-stays in a tight streamline under the water. More than halfway down the pool he surfaces. His arms make perfect windmills. Side-by-side they battle. At the turn my athlete executes a beautiful turn. They are still neck-and-neck. Halfway down the last lap Colton’s stroke changes. He muscles and strengthens his stroke and takes the lead. He touches the wall. First.

In goes Mac. Pure power but he’s battling a champion flyer. The rival takes the lead. Mac valiantly pushes and pushes. At the turn he’s behind. Secretly my heart falls. I cheer louder. As I am cheering something changes. Unbelievably right in front of me the distance closes. Louder we cheer. “GO-GO-GO,” we yell. He touches the wall-first.

In goes Craig, my fellas best friend. He’s poetry in the pool. His breaststroke is more like a choreographed dance than a race. This lap is no different. Up-glide-down. Up-glide-down. He’s calm. He’s steady. We yell,”UP-UP-UP,” but he doesn’t need our help. He’s in perfect control. The lap ends and we are behind.

David. The youngest member of our team dives in. He’s got to close a slight distance. One arm windmills around while the next slaps the water. It looks spastic but it’s not. It’s technique and he’s got it down. At the turn it’s too close to call. We yell louder, louder, louder. There is a chance.

At the last second, the split second they need David touches the wall. Our heads spin around to see the results. “We win! We win!” A bright green 1 is displayed next to a time.

The boys, normally composed and ‘cool’ as only 13-14 years olds can be are jumping and holding up their arms in victory. The crowd is wild.

The time-1:57. 200 yards in 1:57. It’s over in a split second. I grab the heat sheet. In my excitement my hands shake and I can’t make my eyes focus. Finally they do. They focus in on 1:58. 58. 58. 58.

“We got the record,” I say softly. No one is around to hear. I say it again to try and beeline the words I am speaking. “We got the record!”
My voice gotta higher and higher. “Wegottherecord. Wegottherecord.Wegottherecord,”

Behind the blocks the boys are celebrating.

Craig’s mom hears me. She grabs the paper. She sees it for herself. “Wegottherecord!”
She screams hugging me and jumping up and down all at the same time. She’s got tears in her eyes and so do I. One of the dad’s hears us and shouts to the boys, “YOU DID IT BOYS!You did it.”

And they had indeed done it. There-in a split second, the blink if an eye, something changed. A record. It’s theirs. For all of history in 2014 they were the fastest. The boys of summer. The 13-14 relay champs. The race was over. They finished strong. They worked and trained and on a split second they were victorious.

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