Thursday, June 23, 2011

(43-331) First Place

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog called "Love Gives You Courage", and I told you about this girl (who I called Brenda for the sake of the blog.)  I explained that Brenda had been very rude to Nicky and that Lyndzi had stuck up for him.  I also told you that I wasn't a fan of  Brenda's, partly because she's mean and has a phony smile, but also because she's inconsiderate and obnoxious.  I know that those are strong words to say about a child and I apologize if I seem harsh; but I don't know what other words to use to describe her behavior.  This isn't exactly something that I can consult my Thesaurus about, and when I tell you what I'm about to tell you; it may be apparent why.

I've mentioned on more than one occasion that during home swim meets, Luis and I (along with my friend Kailene) sit at the judges table and figure out what place all the swimmers come in.  Although this position can be a little stressful, we do get a front row seat for all the action and there's something to be said for that.

If you're not familiar with swim team procedure, I can tell you that we swim two different strokes and one relay, during each swim meet.  Also the kids are divided into three age groups during Lyndzi and Kelsie's meets, as well as three groups at Nicky's  meets.  We will run as many heats (races) as necessary, in order to assure that all swimmers are given the opportunity to swim.  Typically the coach will put his/her fastest swimmers in the earliest heats; so imagine my surprise when Brenda chose to swim in the fifth (out of six) heats.  I noticed that she was doing this a number of weeks ago, because Brenda is a very good swimmer and she is particularly fast; but I can't help believing that she does this so that she can come in first all the time.

My kids do swim team for the daily exercise that it provides and because they like competing.  It would be very easy for me to tell Lyndzi (for example) to wait to swim towards the end of the heats because there were weaker swimmers that she could surely beat; but I'm not about that.  Although I like when my kids do well, because it boosts their self esteem; I'm also OK if they come in dead last as long as they tried their best and had a good time.  Coming in first EVERY time is not going to prepare "Brenda" for the reality of life.  And truth be told, it's not the placing that counts; it's actually your times.  My feeling is that 1. Brenda needs to let the girls in the later heats, compete against each other and let some of them enjoy success.
2. Brenda needs to challenge herself and compete against people whose aptitude for swim is more similar to hers.  And lastly, she needs to learn that it's OK not to come in first all of the time. 

There are very few if any, individuals who come in first each and every time they do something; so I think Brenda needs a lil dose of reality.  And she needs to learn what it means to play fair and be a good sport. 

We couldn't help but discuss Brenda during the meet, because it was obvious to every one that she intentionally swam in a less competitive heat, so that she could come in first and even though this is a recreational swim team, it was inappropriate to do so.

I find it very sad that coming in first is so important to Brenda and yet I know that there are a lot of other people out there like that.  It seems to me that Brenda is basing her self-esteem on how well she does in a swim meet, but she's doing herself a great disservice.  And as someone who loves children, I find this disturbing.  Apparently Brenda's parents don't have a problem with what she's doing and if I took a wild guess, that's probably because coming in first is the only thing that matters to them, no matter the means.

I hope that my children know that just like they're not a 4.0 or an award winning painting or a first place ribbon; it's the process that counts, and you should be proud of yourself regardless of your place or time.  If you believe that you tried your best and you enjoyed yourself while trying; that's a greater prize than any ribbon.
Till next time,,,

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