Published on July 10th, 2013 | by Shellie Ward

I Black Out During My Kid’s Events

If you ever sit next to me at a swim meet, you WILL be entertained.  I’m constantly cracking jokes, meeting and getting to know other parents.  I usually have a bag full of goodies (too cheap to buy at concession stand). Let’s face it, I am camped out on those bleachers for 4-5 hours at a time, for  2 consecutive days, with a 4-year old in tow, I may as well make the best of it!

We (other swim moms) usually have a community heat sheet, where we keep up with the swim events, check out the competition, and look at seed times.  If we’re at event 24 and Haven is swimming in event 26, the heat sheet makes its way over to me.  I’m also checking to see if Haven is where she should be before a race which is either with her coach, headed to or in the bullpen with the other swimmers in the same event. If she isn’t in any of those places, there is slight panic.  There is nothing worse than watching a race to discover that the lane my is kid should be in……. is empty. When the realization that your kid missed their race, well let just say that it can get UGLY! It’s happen to me and when it happens to other parents, I give him/her that look of understanding. (That’s another post for another time…)

Usually before Haven’s events, I have a lot of anxiety which causes me to go to the bathroom several times before and after her race. If Harley needs to use the restroom right before a race, I ask her can she hold it until after Haven’s race.  Most of the time she will oblige, after I give her a “are you kidding me” face followed by “I’ll give you anything you want if you just do this for me” face.

When Haven gets on the blocks, I’m worried she may false start (by the way, she has never false started). I hold my breath until “GO!”.  I can usually tell in the first 10 seconds of a race what may happen.  If I think she starts a race to fast, I ‘m usually cringing until she hits that brick wall.  Once she hits the brick wall, my shoulders and arms fall and I sit down.  I usually check on her when her race is over, or she’ll check in with me.  If it’s a “not so great race”, she looks at me with wide eyes, and says “How did I do?” I try to be honest, and my face tells it all. Teeth are gritted together, “You did ok, but…..(insert critique)”.  I usually follow up with a hug. Then I go to the bathroom again.

When she has a great race, this is when I think I black out…..

The best races are the quickest. (The bad ones seem like it’s in slow motion.) My rhythm is matching hers, and I gradually begin to jump up and down, and yelling “Go BOOGIE”, “Go BABYGIRL”, “GO GO GO”. If the race is close, I stop breathing.  Once she touches the wall, I’m still not breathing. I turn my head to the scoreboard to see what place she finished, and finally exhale.    I grab the heat sheet and compare her time to her seed time to see if she dropped or added time, and THEN I go to the restroom AGAIN.

I would hope that this behavior will transform into something with a little more swag.  Debbie Phelps showed her excitement too and the cameras love to catch her reaction to her son Michael’s races, so I may just have to embrace it…..

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