I’m at my son’s swim meet at the University of Toronto Athletic Centre. It’s Friday night during the Christmas holiday season. His friends are having fun somewhere. It’s cold out-and dark. He just swam 50 free and has 3 hours to wait until he swims his 800. My son is 13 as are most of the other kids here. He has achieved more athletically by 13 than I have in my life. I’m in awe.
Imagine being a 13 year old boy and spending your Friday night doing this. 800 metres. That’s far. And you have to swim it all out. You can’t give up. You can’t stop. You just have to do it. And you do. Imagine.
When I was 13 I was reading fashion magazines and eating chocolate bars. Being committed and disciplined was not part of my psyche. I didn’t have the focus, the dedication and the vision to do something like this. I also didn’t have the drive or determination. Where did my son get this from? Clearly not from me.
How does a young 13 year old boy reach deep down inside himself and find the fortitude to do this? The commitment. I see him on the starting blocks. His lean, muscled body. It is truly beautiful to look at. A proud moment. This is my boy. My child. My heart. My soul. He is the embodiment of everything I wish I could be. My heart is so full of love and pride for my son. How did I get to be so lucky? To have a child who cares enough to do this.
He dives in. Perfectly aligned. Hardly a splash. His arms push through the water. Around his legs the water froths. He is in Lane 8. He is the slowest of the pack tonight. All the boys look incredible. His time isn’t great.
He climbs out, waits for his buddy. And my easy-going, live in the moment child has a huge smile on his face. He isn’t thinking about the race. It’s over. He’s sharing a joke with his friend. The race is behind him. He doesn’t dwell on what he could or couldn’t have done better. That is for training on Monday. For now, he relaxes. And waits for the 800. I am looking forward to that. It will truly be a test of endurance. And I know my son will do fine. Because when he’s in the moment, it’s the only thing that matters. It will be an awesome sight.