You see, back in the day I was a swimmer. A terrible one, but still. I was a swimmer off and on for about 7 years. I started when I was 8 and quit after my sophomore year of high school. I actually quit just because I wasn't very good, but I would have had to quit anyway because I ended up getting mono my junior year.
I have some fond memories of swimming - even though I was probably one of the worst on the team. I still liked the people I swam with and made some friends.
So anyway, the memory is of the song - the boys team would always listen to that song in their locker room before the swim meets started. We could always hear it echoing out into the pool area and it was a bit comical. I thought it was silly at the time and I don't know how seriously the guys took themselves, but it seemed it was pretty serious. The girls didn't have a song like the boys but we did have a few of our own rituals.
This post isn't really about that song either, even though I just talked about. This is about my coach. I had a few things I would have liked to say to him if I would have had the chance. When you are an awkward high school student, it is harder to say the things you want to say and also you get smarter as you get older and know what to say better than you would have in the past. So here is what I would say to him - I guess I will phrase it like a letter.
Dear Coach Fleming,
I wanted to say thank you for being a great coach when I swam for you in high school. You were an awesome coach because you were level headed (most of the time) and fair. You didn't treat me like crap because I wasn't a great swimmer. You still tried to help me get better even though you knew deep down, there wasn't much hope for me to ever be very good.
You made swimming fun for us and let us have our time to joke around while still making sure we got our practices done and done well. You didn't put up with a lot of crap but you weren't mean either. When we had get togethers out side of the pool, you were fun to be around. I was proud to say you were my coach. The cool thing was, you were also cool outside of the swimming realm. You were an administrator at our school and I always enjoyed seeing you in the halls and your presence was calming and encouraging. You didn't smile a whole lot but when you did, we knew you were really happy.
I have great memories of swimming and though I never went down in school history for breaking any records, I can still look back with fond memories and a smile on my face, not feeling like swimming was a bad experience for me.
Thanks for everything you did.