It’s a Saturday morning at the pool. I volunteered to be a timer for my grandson and a couple of his teammates. Meanwhile, athletes are in the water preparing to swim the mile. As the event is about to begin, a thought crosses my mind: “I don’t think I have ever swam a mile”.

I’m amazed at my grandson’s progress in this sport. He is creating a name for himself. NO one is putting pressure on him to be in the pool at 5:30am, six days a week, just to be back in the pool later that afternoon. He does it because he loves the sport, winning, and his teammates.

As the swimmers hit the water after their impressive dives, music blares through the natatorium’s sound system. It is an upbeat atmosphere as family, friends, and teammates watch and cheer them on! I too am excited and curious.

I’m watching them swim back and forth, back and forth. Consistent and disciplined. About 15 minutes or so later, the intensity increases both inside and outside the water as a handbell clangs incessantly clearly calling out a warning. Red plastic signs are plunged into the far end of each swimmers lane making them aware of the last lap. The race was already on but now it’s the finish!

It’s like they were all waiting for permission to let it all out. Once that bell rang and the red signs plunged, the swimmers demonstrated a whole new level of speed and ambition for the final wall touch. What endurance! Great performance! Inspiring!

After debriefing with my grandson, I learned he had a not-so-unusual mishap with his goggles about ten laps into the race. As a result, he could not see clearly and his cap began falling off. Before the race ended, it had fallen completely off. That part, we all witnessed as it unfolded. It was unfortunate but these things happen. I was very encouraged and inspired because if you were watching from the stands, you would never know he was struggling because of how he dealt with the situation and how he finished. He did not win the race but he did very well and learned a lot.

As I was driving away from that competition, I was heading to another. My daughter coaches a high school team preparing for the state tournament. The drive provided about 15 minutes of “think” time to consider what I had just witnessed. My 14 year old grandson’s performance caused me to ask myself three related questions:
  1. Like my grandson, am I doing my work for the love of it? The mission of it? And the people in it?
  2. Do I train for consistency and endurance so that when the bell rings, I have enough in the tank to give it my all?
  3. When unfortunate things happen, do they derail me or do I find a way to compete in spite of it?
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