Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Do Not Miss It!

Do Not Miss It!

Sign up for the Swim Team in April!
The Answerman

Brian: I was thinking of getting my son Mark some more swimming lessons this summer. He did pretty well last year, and enjoyed it. What do you think?

Answerman: Well Brian, this response is going to be longer than you want and full of verbiage meant to tug at your heart strings and put a potential load of guilt on you.

Brian: Must you?

Answerman: Yes I must. Brian, if your son can make it one length of the pool on his back and one length on his belly(no matter how ugly his technique) my wife and I would recommend putting him on the Chantilly Highlands Dolphins swim team. Our family is going into our 15th year on the team, and we have had the best time. Our children have both learned to swim all four competitive swim strokes, made new friends and have had a great time. So have me and the missus. The swim team is not just for really good swimmers…it is a combination of swimming instruction and introduction to swimming competition. It is open to both boys and girls from 5-18 years of age (who are water safe), and runs from the end of May to the end of July. Sign up is in April. Go to the website: http://www.chdolphins.net/... the exact dates and times for registration will soon be posted there.
The swim team has been an integral part of our lives as a family and we are so grateful to have had such a great program available to us…. with fine coaches and great parent volunteers…and I cannot emphasize this enough….your kid does not have to be a great swimmer to be on the team…and he does not have to be a star to have fun. One of our children is not a natural athlete and one is…they both learned to swim well and had fun…the only difference was that one was faster than the other. The coaches and knowledgeable swim parents judge a child’s progress not on comparison with others….but with the child’s individual progress measured by his or her attainment of personal best times. At this summer level, swimming is a laid back, no pressure good time…and your son will learn to swim better, faster and with more endurance by joining the swim team than with additional swim lessons. That is a proven fact. Food is better too.
Brian: This sounds like it requires more commitment than I had hoped to make.
Answerman: It does require a few hours of volunteer help from you. We have around 180 kids on the team, with lots of stuff that needs to happen….but you will have something easy to do, as a new guy. The old parents do all the jobs that require some knowledge. You will have a blast. Watching all the kids get better over the summer will be very enjoyable….seeing them overcome their fears and inexperience will be rewarding to you. I cannot explain this part…but it is probably the best part from a parent’s perspective. It is what keeps coaches coaching and volunteers helping.

Brian: Well, I certainly do not want my child to miss out on such a wonderful experience. I will sign him up in April.

Answerman: My work here is done.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Doris' First Swim Meet

Doris: Our family went to our first swim meet Tuesday evening and it was soooo confusing. You were there. Can you tell me what was going on? I could hardly find my child or keep track of when he was swimming!

Answerman: I know how you feel Doris. I don’t think my wife and I figured it out until our second season. There are 40 parents running around organizing and executing necessary duties; all that stuff will take a long time to understand, but the swim meet itself follows the same pattern. Tuesday evening was what our league calls a developmental meet. All eligible kids on the team who show up can swim two events. We have 188 kids this season and the other team had about the same number. That is what took so long. That’s a lot of swimming and over 300 swimmers to organize and keep track of. The meet starts with 6 and under boy’s freestyle followed by 6 and under girl’s freestyle. The age groupings are 6 and under, 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18. The kids have multiple heats of each age group within the stroke starting with the boys, until they are all done. There can easily be 10 heats of 8 and under girl’s freestyle; you weren’t dreaming. The event order in summer swimming follows a predictable order: Freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke and butterfly. We finish with individual medley (25 meters each of butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke, & freestyle; all swum by an individual swimmer) if we have time before 2 am closing time. (Just kidding).

Doris: OK. I guess that helps. But how can I find my son Ronny?

Answerman: The best way Doris is to volunteer as a team area parent or clerk of course. Ronny should be camped out in the team area between events. If you are working crowd control in there you can keep an eye on him and know where he is, what he is doing to others and when he is swimming. If you learn the “clerk of course” job, you will be lining up all the kids for their events. You will be the best informed person on the deck regarding who is where, since you control it! You will also learn a ton of behind the scenes stuff since the people who head up that group know everything and everybody.

Tom: Was it wrong of me to pray that the meet would be canceled due to thunderstorms since it was so hot and I wanted to watch TV instead?

Answerman: Yes Tom it is very wrong. That is just not the perky attitude one should have now is it?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What Is Practice Like?

Lulu: I have signed my 6 children up for the swim team. I have no idea what to do. What is practice like and can you give me a feeling of peace with the decision I have made?

Answerman: Welcome Lulu, you have come to the right sport! Swimming is an aggressive, gut wrenching sport full of trauma, drama, and lots of trips to the emergency room.
Just kidding. We in the swimming world are the happiest of people. You do not see fights in the stands or debris hurled at the officials. You may get jostled in the concession stand line when the price of pizza drops at the end of the meet, but other than that swimming families are well adjusted folks bursting with inner tranquility. For a discussion of what practice is like, go to the May 29, 2006 blog in the archives or just scroll on down toward the bottom until you happen upon it.

LuLu: Thanks ever so much! I can't wait to volunteer for every meet and drink in the joy that surrounds this sport.

Answerman: Bless you my child; if only every parent had your saintly attitude toward helping out.

It's Not Too Late!

It’s Not Too Late to join the Swim Team!
The Answerman

Jason: Help. I need your help. I was supposed to sign my boy Melvin up for the swim team in April. My wife gave me a MapQuest to the community center and $120 cash in order to register him. I don’t know how it happened but somehow my neighbor Ted and I ended up at Ruby Tuesday’s eating chili & wings and consuming adult beverages. The first time I looked at my watch it was 10:45 pm, my cash and wings were finished, the community center was dark and my goose is cooked. Can you help me and does my wife have to know?

Answerman: Be at peace Jason. If this was any other sport, you would be toast. We at the swim team are a mellow and understanding group and have made allowances for people in your circumstance. In fact, I believe this same thing happened to you the last two seasons. You will have to cough up a $20 late fee to pay for your sin and our inconvenience. Go to our web site www.chdolphins.net and print off a registration form.
Mail it along with your money and a note begging forgiveness to Martha Macdonald 13346 Scottsmore Way , Herndon, VA 20171. Your wife need never know of your transgression.

Nicole: I was wondering if my husband Jason ever signed our son Melvin up for the swim team?

Answerman: Yes, Nicole. Jason successfully completed his mission.

Margaret: You have written that swimming will make my daughter Maggie feel good. Could you be more specific and use some of that pseudo sports medicine terminology. I just love when you do that.

Answerman: Certainly Margaret. After a hard working set Maggie will be producing excess lactic acid which will gradually dissipate during her warm down set. Mild discomfort will be replaced with a feeling of relaxed looseness. A solid practice will raise Maggie’s level of serotonin and increase the release of endorphins, leading to a state of mild euphoria.

Margaret: I think I will take up swimming!

Answerman: It’s a beautiful thing.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Avoid Later Blame

Avoid Later Blame

Sign up for the Swim Team in April!

The Answerman
Steve Bachman

Ted: Whenever I attempt to make helpful suggestions to my children as to how to improve one of their skill sets or behavior patterns, somehow it always turns out that their shortcomings are my fault. This happens with my spouse too.

Answerman: Give me an example.

Ted: Well, I asked my daughter, politely, if she would clean up her room, she responded that it would be perfectly clean all the time, if I did not insist that she attend school. When I mentioned to my wife that her mood should be adjusted to a more gentle, quiet, co-operative mode of being, she responded that if I provided her with servants, a personal shopper, live in chef and laundress, her mood would be one that I would definitely find acceptable. The short comings of this world seem to have me as their source.

Answerman: You must still be young, Ted. Basically, this is part of being a man that no one ever tells you about. If they did, there would be no marriage, no children and the human race would shortly be holding very small, short swim meets.

Ted: Is there nothing I can do?

Answerman: Yes Ted there is hope. You must take pre-emptive action. In 20 years when someone makes fun of your son Teddy’s splashy, go nowhere, grunting swim stroke at the pool of the Acapulco Princess during a marketing convention, you do not want him to be able to say, “My parents were too pathetic, short sighted, and self centered to make sure that I developed a smooth, elegant, strong, safe, swimming style by signing me up for the Chantilly Highland’s Summer Swim Team.”

Ted: No I certainly don’t want to be blamed for that. What can I do?

Answerman: Ted you must sign your son up for the Dolphin’s swim team. Go to the neighborhood Community Center on April 23rd or April 25 from 6:30-8:30 to register. You can learn more at the swim team website: http://www.chdolphins.net , there will also be a registration form there that you can fill out in advance. You can also check out the Answerman’s web blog (www.swimteamanswerman.blogspot.com) for new swim team parents. It will answer many of your questions as far as the philosophical underpinnings of the Aquatic Ethic, psychological insight into human interaction poolside, and other deep analysis of the human condition as well as what not to eat at the snack bar at the Franklin Farm pool.

Doris: I have been to your crummy swim blog in the hopes of getting the daily guidance I need, and you haven’t updated that sorry thing since last summer.

Answerman: Truth, beauty, and the Answerman’s comments are not bound by time, Doris.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I want to be loved

Theodore: I want to be loved and known like you are within the swim team management organization. I want to be on the inside; my family and I feel excluded, unloved and overlooked by the swim team clique to which you belong. By the way how do you pronounce the word clique?

Answerman: The most common Northern Virginia pronunciation is click. When I was a kid; I pronounced it the Frenchy way "cleek" which is also OK according to Merriam Webster. But anyway, the dictionary defines the word clique in 2 ways. The first is "a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons" This is probably how you mean it. I can understand how you feel. When my wife and I were new to the swim team, half the time I couldn't find my kids or identify them when they were swimming. Everything at a swim meet looked liked semi-organized chaos. I didn't realize how much planning and effort it took to provide this activity for my children. All the people who were making things happen always seemed to hang out together and have really cool interaction; of which I was not a part. This was not something that the group at the time intended to do, it was just that there was so much communication needed and effort coordinated that this same group of experienced people ended up hanging around each other and talking all the time.
As far as being loved goes, my wife assures me that very few people on the swim team mgt. group actually like me, let alone love me, but this is OK since as you know it is difficult just to "Love the one your with" a lyric line from Crosby, Stills and Nash(possibly Young on some albums) a frontline, late 1960's Rock and Roll group. Yeah. Anyway, when you see some supposedly cool conversations taking place, it is probably more like "Hey, you forgot to do...", and When are you going to do?" and Who is going to bring...Etc...? As my wife and I volunteered more and became helpers (instead of just consumers of the effort of others) we were drawn in to this circle of love that you feel excluded from. My new summer friend Martha (not her real name) says that this phenomenon is common in PTA, church and Scouting etc. If you want to be appreciated, loved, and prayed for; all you got to do is volunteer to do more than the minimum and people will consider you in their will and among their closest associates. The second definition of clique is " a group held together by common interests" This could be you in the near future. Hopefully as you and your family learn more about swimming and the effort required to provide this great experience for your child, the children of others and your community, you will leap at every opportunity to be of service to others. If you do, I guarantee that you will be drawn in to the abyss of love that is the swim team ruling junta clique festival.

Theodore: Those last few lines were so sickeningly sweet and "take one for the team-ish" that I feel nauseous.

Monique: I thought that they were full of meaning and I am getting refrigerator magnets made that capture those sentiments.

Theodore: Send me a couple.

Answerman: Yeah.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Winning $ Losing

Fred: Did you win last Saturday? Did you win today? I was studying for my PhD. and couldn't attend.

Answerman: Our team won today but lost a close one last Saturday.

Fred: What was the psychological difference between the victory and the loss?

Answerman: Well Fred, not much. The food was good, the weather was great and a lot of kids had best times both days so the psychological impact of the loss was not long felt. As you know Fred, a bad day at the pool is better than a good day in most of the world.

Monique: That will be my thought for the days ahead. It will help me make sense of it all.

Answerman: Happy to help Monique.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Carmela: During last night's meet, I saw a kid eat two cheese burgers and four twizzlers 15 minutes before his race and he still won by half a length. I was told that children should consume only lightly buttered pasta and drink only purified spring water in preparation for racing. What does my observation of last night's gluttonous consumption prove?

Answerman: It proves that a really fast kid can eat two cheese burgers and 4 twizzlers and still win against kid's who are slower. It is a sad fact of life.

Ken: This is the third swim meet I've seen and I still don't understand everything that is happening and I am a lawyer. What does this prove?

Answerman: It proves that you should volunteer for a wide variety of swim team jobs. This will aid in your development and understanding.