Well....the first meet of the new team and the new season has come and gone. It was a very long day but the more we are in the world of swimming, the more we love it. J did quite well and was pleased with himself.
At practice he was asked to fill out a sheet about his likes and dislikes about swimming. On that form there was a spot for him to set a goal for himself for the season (September through the middle of December). The Coach said that the goal could be absolutely anything. J decided to set a goal based on swimming and wrote down that he wanted to be below a certain time in his 50 m Freestyle.
J did not accomplish that goal on Saturday but it looks like he will at the next meet. He is .9 seconds away from doing so. He did well in his other events, too. He chose to compete in Freestyle, Backstroke and Breaststroke. Backstroke was the first event for him of the day and he heard the buzzer to start and sat at the blocks. The Starter was new and didn't start the boys off according to procedure, which threw J. He sat there for 2 full seconds before starting. Once he got going, he was able to catch up fairly quickly to the leader, stick with him until the end, when J put on some speed and won the heat! He certainly made it an exciting race for all of the spectators.
Being on a new team means that J is a new sight for his fellow swimmers. He has to kind of find his niche and hope for the best. He has found a couple kids that are quickly becoming friends. It also means that we get lots of curious questions. Curiosity is easy to handle. It's the nastiness that comes from the parents and the other swimmers. Already, we have had to defend him to other parents because he was doing things that their child isn't capable of doing yet. We watched glares and stares towards J as he walked around. And, we heard comments like, "I've never seen somebody so weird!" For anybody who ever reads this....an amputee is NOT weird. They are different. Inside, they have the same emotions and needs as your child or as yourself. J works hard to accomplish his goals in and out of the water. The coaches on this team teach the kids 4 character qualities. Two of them are RESPECT and KINDNESS. I'd like to see that extended to all swimmers and to all in society, regardless of issue or need.