We are always working to get our swimmers to realize they have a place in the process of our/their team’s growth. A lot, in fact maybe most, of our youngsters have very full days. They get up early for either morning workouts or school. They go pretty much fully scheduled until after school when they do some homework, socialize a bit then get to the pool for practice...where of course they socialize some more while working out...that is "coach speak" for "they need to work harder and socialize less".
But the upside of that situation is that they are having fun interacting with each other while ostensibly training to get better at their craft. Our team is no doubt much like many of yours...it may even be like your workplace "team"---working more or less diligently to finish a project or get a bid together while having some socialization time. We humans tend to be social...but this is not a commentary on the population and its tendencies so we apologize for the digression...
Back to today...we have a swim-a-thon in progress right now. It is a chance to do two things at one time; 1 - raise some money for the team and 2 - raise the awareness about our team within its community while simultaneously increasing the size of that community. However, to do that each team member must commit to the process of asking folks to sponsor them...and here is the rub.
Our kids, maybe like yours, have trouble doing that. It's not that it is hard to do so; it is that it is out of their realm of normal activity to do so. We coaches prod them, encourage them, and do some role playing on how to ask…all the usual stuff. Most folks will say “yes” when asked to help the team but the "ask" is the critical component.
For many it is far easier to ask their parents to write a check...and we say NO to that. The parents are always writing checks and that is the point. Swimmers must learn that they are involved in the growth and financial health of their team. A “laps for donations” event is so common place these days – think walk-a-thons and bike-a-thons and you name it, it is out there.
So why is it so challenging to get our swimmers to do this?
And so we come to the title of today’s writing. Ken was his usual brilliant self at our team meeting on Saturday explaining how sometimes we must do the difficult work to enjoy what we have. He spoke of his new (to him) home with its wonderful deck and shade trees and sounds of birds and quiet. He told the team how he likes to often sit on the back deck with cold lemonade and simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet that the space affords him. He weaves a tale like none other – believe me!
Then he spoke of the work that was needed to enjoy the space. He spoke about the leaves that need to be raked and the skylights in the house that needed to have the bird poop cleaned and how that part wasn’t so much fun…but he sure liked the lemonade...
There were lots of smiles in our circle…the kids got it better than any other admonition or exhortation...gotta do the dirty work to get the reward. That’s the way it works...learn that much and the swim team will have been an enormous value...regardless of how fast you ever get.