Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"State Swim Meet" & "People Actually Read Blogs"

I now must succumb to the weight of the evidence: People are actually reading this blog! My dad talked with me about a couple of things I wrote. I've gotten emails about posts, and people have commented online and in person about them. The evidence is now overwhelming - I'm under surveillance.

It's not a bad thing, it just shovels me from the study and out into the living room as it were. It is truly odd to me that "people" would actually read my random thoughts and seem to enjoy them and/or get something worthwhile out of them. This currently is for me writing practice. So, to all you "people" out there reading this, you are seeing my infant steps in attempting to write.


Anyway, onto this weekend, the Alabama Recreation state swimming meet:


We were up at 4:00AM (which is even earlier than 4:45AM) and succeeded in leaving the house before 5:00AM. This was after 4:45AM, but better than usual for us in getting our clan going. (Our extraordinary momentum actually carried into Sunday when we appeared at church BEFORE the service started!)


Anyway...

At our breakfast /change-from-pajamas-into-Flying-Fish pit stop (one and a half hours later) a crisis ignited: A swimming suit had been forgotten! When you are going to a swimming meet how on earth can a swimming suit be forgotten? There was impending hysteria, voices shrilled, tempers ruffled - and then someone actually looked into the swim bag. There was the forgotten swimsuit - right alongside all the other swimming suits. Fuse extinguished, bomb defused and calm returned with all Flying Fish suited, seated and belted into the van. We were back cruising down the road, and I was left to peacefully enjoy my bacon egg and cheese biscuits. (Which are one of life's simple pleasures.)


In less than the Google Maps allotted two hours and thirty eight minutes we arrived at the state swim meet site. We did end up turning left at the next stoplight after a Wal-Mart to get to the swimming complex. Our one-of-hundreds carbon copy blue accordion style awning was unfurled on the rec-center front lawn, and the girls were in warm-ups with time to spare.


The swimming went well, our almost toddler even took a abbreviated nap in the organized chaos of 1000+ swimmers and their entourages (families, friends and coaches) entering and exiting the pool area. When our imminent toddler awoke on the wrong side of the crib, our family went into action to see/photograph/video our two swimmers' medley relay races.


A glimpse at this finely trained process (it is a fine art:)


First, the responsibilities must be divided: my wife got the 'still' camera and went to organize (corral) one of the relay teams, my daughter gathered the crawler and I got the video camera and my walking enabled son.


Check.


Second, a prime viewing position must be secured: My wife had this easy(er) because she was with a relay team itself and would end up poolside with that team and therefore obtain a prime position. I however had to wind my daughter (holding the cranky pending toddler), my son and myself upstream against the flow of humidified, hot, and ill humored people and into a place on the pool deck to where we thought we might be able to view our swimmers' events. The poolside was lined in solid entourage three to four people deep, so we positioned ourselves behind our targeted spot a few events early and waited. As each event concluded the people in front would reach their undesired heat and humidity levels and exit their spot. And like a spring loaded snack machine the remaining entourage would scoot forward toward the pool to see their swimmers churn up the water. When our daughters' medley relays were on deck, all the snacks before us had been bought, so we were at the crowd control rope surrounding the poolside and at our targeted spot.

Check

Finally, you must be prepared for the moment with the picture equipment on and ready for action: I had exchanged the video camera for the short napped wrong side of the crib looming toddler from my daughter. He doesn't understand the screaming, whistling and yelling that the collective entourage engages in while their swimmers are in the pool. His problem is this: Why are people making loud noises to a swimmer with his or her head in the water doing repetitive (loud) water splashing/churning motions and sporting a rubber cap which covers his or her ears? The swimmer hears foaming splashing water. This frustrated our pre-toddler to no end. He let his frustration get the better of his self control and joined in the yelling himself. My daughter politely asked me if I could take him and she would kindly hold the video camera until our relays came up, because, "he's too heavy for me to hold for a long time." When the time came the child and video equipment were professionally swapped back. I turned on the camera, eventually took the lens cap off, and focused on the far side of the pool.

Check.

Everything went as planned. Fine, expertly amateur video was taken of the first relay and I was happy. BUT, I had failed to take into account the lane location of the second relay. I couldn't even see my swimmer getting ready from my current "prime" location. I rushed (OK edged, excuse me? Pardon me, I'm sorry, excuse me, Excuse me,....) to where I might be able to see her. There was a lifeguard stand and many layers of entourage all enthroned there and no one was going anywhere. What to do? I wedged myself (pardon me, Excuse me, excuse me...) under the lifeguard stand. Well, sort of wedged. There was someone already seated under the stand. I hunched under the lifeguard stand, leaned over the seated person and tried to fit the camera through the stand's steps, between the lifeguard's feet, and shoot video of the relay between the coaches and other swimmers on the pools edge. Oh well.

Overall the state swim meet was enjoyable, eventful and hot.

We all got Sonic cream pie shakes or ice cream "Blasts" at the end of each of the two days.

There was an 11th place, a 12th place, a 19th place, two 5th places and some other place I don't remember.

Our almost toddler was very grateful to finally sleep in a cool, quiet, undisturbed bed.

So was I.

2 comments:

Elijah Lofgren said...

> I'm under surveillance.
Indeed, my preferred surveillance tool is Google Reader: http://www.google.com/help/reader/tour.html

> Our extraordinary momentum actually carried into Sunday when we appeared at church BEFORE the service started

Congratulations! ;)

> and I was left to peacefully enjoy my bacon egg and cheese biscuits. (Which are one of life's simple pleasures.)

For a more complex pleasure, try the Hardee's Monster Biscuit:
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_popculture_blog/2007/01/the_breakfast_s.html

Miriam, Jubilee, and I had them today and they were quite good.

> In less than the Google Maps allotted two hours and thirty eight minutes we arrived at the state swim meet site.

It seems to me that Google must build in extra time for stops or something because it always seems to over-estimate. However, I think that is a very nice feature. ;)

> So, to all you "people" out there reading this, you are seeing my infant steps in attempting to write.

Wow, and it's already great! I enjoyed it (it's amazing how simple stories can be quite interesting).

Thanks for sharing the story,

Elijah

Rob said...

Surveillance: Yes Google reader is the advanced version of surveillance.
Thanks, it's sad that being early is worth noting.
That Monster Biscuit is huge!
Yes, I'd much rather get somewhere sooner than what I'm anticipating (see note above)
And thanks for the writing encouragement. I think it's easier to relate to the normal/mundane things in life rather than the infrequent 'fantastic' circumstances.