BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP – OK, OK, I’m awake… Here we go, it’s 6:00 AM, the alarm just went off, it’s Tuesday and the girls swim against the biggest team in the league tonight. What’s the weather forecast – sunny, hot and humid and 60% chance of thunderstorms – Oh no, it’s going to be midnight before we get the kids home and into bed.
I can do this; I know I can do this because the girls love summer swim meets, playing games, eating nachos and competing against their friends. Alright then, let’s get it together – what does the day look like? Hmmm…. three meetings, two conference calls and block time to prepare for the quarterly management meeting… I need to somehow leave the office early, get home and change into something cool and water resistant and then rush to the pool early because my lovely wife signed me up to volunteer as a Timer again. But hey, I can’t really complain because it is the “best seat in the house.”
I made it through the day, now off to the pool. As I walk into the pool, I realize that it is already time to meet with all the volunteers for preparation and training. Okay, okay makes sense. Now for lane assignments…I hope that I get a lane that my kids are going to be swimming in!
All the timers march to our lanes anticipating the start of the meet. The Starter blows the whistle and the first event is underway. Phew, good thing I was paying attention to the starter. The first couple of events are completed and I feel like I am finally getting the hang of this whole volunteer timer thing.
YIKES! Completely missed the start of the next event and didn’t get to start my watch. WHAT DO I DO? Hmmm…do I look for a head timer and make a scene? No, maybe next time. Ill just go ahead and copy my partners time. Even better, ill just look at his time and change the hundredths of a second to make it look like we are both paying close attention to the swimmers and their finishes!
Okay, where is that clipboard? The pad of paper just got soaked during one of the flip turns, the pen isn’t working and my partner writes as legible as Einstein having a seizure. WAIT!! I missed the runner. Well this is escalating quickly. I need to calm down. This is not supposed to be stressful! My hand goes up and the head timer comes to my lane. We switch watches and I am finally back on track. The starter’s whistle pierces the screaming children and parents cheering and the next event is underway – OH MY, only 100 more events to go…
We finally made it to the last event of the night! Even after the hours of organized chaos, the families and teams line the side of the pool to cheer on their teams’ relays that will decide the winner of the meet. It certainly doesn’t get much better than that!
In the end, although volunteering at a swim meet may seem like a treacherous task, nothing will ever beat the ultimate reward of the smiles on my kids’ faces, tightly gripping their rainbow ribbons!