Sunday, April 26, 2015

This One is for All the Coaches

A swimmer from the 1970’s wrote asking for a picture I might have. I looked in a scrap book that had been put together as a gift when I left Marin Aquatic Club for adventures on a Kawasaki 900. I found a couple of photos and also found the enclosed page. I am sharing it with all the coaches for a simple reason. If you are like me, sometimes we wonder if we make any impression on our swimmers, our kids. Intuitively we probably guess we do but still…sometimes we wonder. Thanks to Paul Donohue who was a wonderful young man, then a husband and father and finally an inspiration to me later in my life.

“A really big part of my life has been spent here in the last three years. I’ve had experiences that I’ll probably remember as long as I live. I’ve had some others that will always be there, and come to mind as I need them.
A lot of people have passed through the pit (our affectionate name for San Rafael High School’s pool) in that time, a couple of which, try as I can, I won’t even remember, and a couple of others who I’ll always be in debt to.
I’ve learned a lot in this time span. When I compete or race now, I feel as if I have an incomprehensible storage of tiny and minute details to fall back on. Yet I know this isn’t quite true, and there is still a lot left to learn. However, I often think to when I was told that ninety percent of everything I’ve come to know I’ve learned through swimming – everything from standing up under pressure and withstanding the pain, to learning to lose with dignity, to being courteous with those I come in contact with, such as the little kids and parents.
I’ve changed a lot in three years. And I’ll always feel that if this change didn’t take place here it wouldn’t have been the change that it was.”

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