Last night my two older children competed in a swim tournament. The whole thing was a huge learning experience. Let me share my new found knowledge with you, gentle reader.
1- Swim meets take a long freaking time. 96 children show up to swim four different strokes in a pool with only six lanes. That immediately should tell you something: you’re going to be there forever.
2- You can never bring too many breakfast bars to such an event. First you need to feed your own kids. The ones who swim will be starving because they’re going to have gallons of adrenaline running through them; while the non-swimming one will be bored beyond measure, and thus also starving. Then there are apparently 94 other children whose parents did not bring any breakfast bars and they are simply going to die if they don’t have one right now. So bring a lot.
3- Bring your own water. Because the water fountains at swim meets are gross and breakfast bars make you thirsty.
4- It is impossible to be chilly in a natatorium with the parents/grandparents of 96 children. Leave the sweater at home. (And wear lots of deodorant.)
5- Sometimes one of your children will win a race and another child will come in last place. In both cases, the size of your smile and the loudness of your cheer should be exactly the same.
6- Bleachers are incredibly uncomfortable, like medieval torture chamber uncomfortable.
7- Bring something for your non-swimming child to do. In fact, bring several somethings for your non-swimming child to do. And don’t rely on the nice, chubby woman next to you with the breakfast bars to entertain your offspring. Seriously.
8- There is a huge difference between not winning and losing. You might not have won a race, but that doesn’t make you a loser. And if you cut a few seconds off your best time during a race, you are a winner even if you’re not in first place.
9- Go to the bathroom before the meet. Otherwise you have to step over a million people in order to get off the bleachers, and those same million people when you come back. If you decide to come back.
10- Did I mention that bleachers are insanely uncomfortable?
11- If you ask your spouse to rub your butt when you get home because you’ve lost all sensation in the aforementioned body part, they’re going to want to have sex with you afterward. Be prepared.
12- The three minutes that your children swim make the three hour event worth it. Honestly. Watching your own offspring in some rinky-dink competition is as great as watching Michael Phelps in the Olympics.
Probably even better.