He earned a gold cap.
Those are words I never thought I would say to my son, “don’t forget your gold rip away pants.” Of course I never expected to hear,”Mom, how do you shave your legs?” Under any other circumstances those 2 phrases uttered anywhere within the same conversation would bring visions of MAGIC MIKE immediately to mind…but I ramble.
I’ve been to a lot of swim meets. Not a one has held a candle to today. Downtown Atlanta. College Natatorium literally busting at the seams with the very best of the best high school athletes. 125 schools-including the big dog schools out of Atlanta were there.
Thumping adrenaline cranking music was blaring from the speakers. Music so intense it rattled your seat. Parents were nervous and excited. Some unpacked giant fathead posters of their swimmers; others poured over heat sheets. We all had in t-shirts proudly proclaiming who we were and who we represented.
The MC could have been an MC at at Vegas prize fight. He was working the crowd, amping us all up and keeping things within the very rigid timeframe. You could feel the energy pulsating all around you. It was contagious and exhilarating and electrifying.
Like a national event all the student athletes were credentialed. You could get on or off the pool deck without flashing your creds. That tiny little detail was just icing in a really cool cake.
On deck they had a backdrop like you see in the academy awards red carpet. Swimmers posed in groups in front of the GHSA logo. They were the stars here today and it was only fitting that they have their own paparazzi.
The hear sheet was a daunting book of name after name after name after name. 60-70 swimmers….60-70 of the fastest swimmers in the STATE…in each race. Hundredths of seconds separated the good from the great.
On the deck they athletes stretched like Olympians. There were no simple suits here. They stretched and practiced in skin-tight-state-of -the-art racing suits. Those that didn’t own one were buying on at the meet store to the tune of $100 per suit. I mean buying them like they were tic-tacs. Those that couldn’t (me) buy one were busy calculating what bill could wait a month so that their child wasn’t the ONLY ONE in a pedestrian and mundane regular suit.
Around me dad’a talked strategy-STRATEGY for goodness sake. Who’s son was sandbagging prelims to surprise his opponents at finals. Who thinks like that! They debated relay order until I thought my ears would bleed.
This was serious. Super serious. This was big.
And down there amidst all the hubbaballouh was my son. He had earned the right to be here amongst the best of the best. Not a race had started and yet I already felt like we’d won.
We are Titans and we were there to compete.
And all that my friends was before my son even hit the water.