Jingle Bell Meet

16 12 2006

On Friday this week, our swim team had a “Jingle Bell Meet”. When I went in, it was the usual: havoc. Everyone was walking around, bumping into each other. Everyone was dropping things, and it was terrifying.

The same was for the deck. As I walked down the deck, someone looked at me, said “39 point 74” and then kept on walking. I looked at that person, which I judged was a timer. Someone bumped into me, starred at me, said “Merry Christmas” and then went on.

Finally, we got into order. Everyone else who was also in the meet was now in orderly lines, sorted by heat. I walked up to the coach and asked him to put me in order. He looked at me, and asked me what my name was. “Brad,” I replied. He blinked, then said, “Brad, for this meet your new name is Red Group, Heat 1, Lane 5, Section 7.”

After a very long time, they called my new “name” to go a 50 yard butterfly. “Red H1 L5 S7, please get ready,” they called. I hopped into the . “Ready…” and then the starter pressed the button. “BEEP!!!!!!” This was the thing that made a meet a meet. When I dived in, the sound still ringed in my ear. I was off.

It felt like I was flying in the water. I threw my arms back and began moving them very fast. Nothing mattered now that I was in the water. Thoughts from the mean man in my body kept on pushing these matters back. “Computer…” My cells had to push them back.

Finally, the ceiling bars coincided with the lining poles. This was how I knew when to turn over and do a flip without crashing painfully into the wall. I turned over, and noticed I was one foot away from the wall. Perfect. Thump, and I was going back.

Swimming and swimming, until I saw the timer’s head over me. I strained for the wall, and then touched it. I was done. My cells relaxed. The matters came back. But now was the time to relax.

After thirty minutes, they called me for a 50 freestyle. And then it was a 50 breast. After that, the meet was over. It was time for the part everyone was waiting for, the part I was not expecting: Jingle Bell Relay.

The relay was ridiculous: each lane was given a Santa hat. Before they swam, the had to put on the hat. If the hat fell off, you were to retrieve it. And worse of all, this was a hat that wasn’t supposed to be into the water.

“GO!” yelled the starter, and behind me, about two people heaved me into the water even though I could have perfectly managed myself. I swam freestyle to the other end, and then heaved the hat onto a little girls head.

This girl had obviously not listened to the instructions, or she didn’t understand them. She put on the hat, said, “Pretty.” and then stood there. Then she hopped into the water and then hopped back out. The other teams were already at the other end with some already starting their next lap. Yet we had a girl who had just gotten into starting position.

She had taken it as if it were a race, not a relay. Finally, even though I could barely speak, I shouted, “Ready… HONK!” Then I hoped she didn’t listen very closely. I was right, and she jumped into the water.

In the end, we lost. Perfectly normal meet behavior, with half the people not knowing what to do.

Perfectly normal.

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22 12 2006
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