This weekend we participate in the All City Swim Meet. It includes all the city pools in the city and, therefore, draws over 2000 swimmers to the meet. Seven of those were mine. We have three children in the 8&under age group, two in the 9-10 age group and two 11-12s. Only the two 9-10s are the same gender. Middle-Middle and ShyGuy.
Up until now, in their entire swimming career, they have never swam the same stroke. So, they’ve never swam against one another. While one was a Backstroker and IMer, the other was a Freestyler and Breaststroker (yeah, yeah…ha ha, breaststroker). I encouraged them not to swim the same events. I did it subtly so as never to have to out and out tell one boy he could NOT swim the event he wanted to. I don’t think that’s fair. So, when Middle-Middle came to me and told me he wanted to swim Breaststroke at the last individual meet of the year, the same stroke his brother took THIRD in the city in the year before, I gave him a whole bunch of excuses.
Then FPD signed him up. FPD has NO qualms about the boys swimming against one another. He wanted to see what M-M could do. I was sure poor, tiny for his age M-M would be crushed to lose to his younger brother. Um, not so much. M-M beat him. It was close, but he beat ShyGuy. So, M-M declared that he wanted to swim Breaststroke at All City, because his time put him in contention for placing.
So, they swam. And they were seeded two spots apart, each BARELY in contention for the Finals. I spent one anxiety producing day weighing what I would do if one made it to the finals and the other didn’t. How upset would the losing boy be? How much would it hurt their self-esteem. Then, I prayed that if one had to lose, it would be ShyGuy. He’s younger, it would be more acceptable. He had one more year in this age group to try. What would I say if there was trash talk? Would they do that? I went to work that day and streamed the video to my computer, watching anxiously as their race was up and their times rolled in.
They BOTH made it!!! Then, today, as they got ready for the finals, we realized their times were so close that they would swim in the same heat. Then, as I watched them take their place behind the lanes to get ready to swim, I realized that they would swim RIGHT next to each other. As in, in neighboring lanes.
How would this go? What about the sibling rivalry everyone talks about? If that’s for real, then this is about to totally wreck them. They dove in, raced, and came up, still intact. No one died. Then I watched them look at the score board, look at each other, and reach over the lane lines to hug one another. They got out and walked away from the blocks…together. They came to find FPD and I…together. And, when they went to get their ribbons, they were willing to pose for this picture, sharing the winners podium…
–FullPlateMom, who wants to remind everyone one more time that black people can indeed swim. These two just proved it.