Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kiss Her Splash

She was really anxious the night before her first swimming competition, scared she might get off the starting block and dive with her feet going in the water first. She asked us to pray for her that night and asked to be cuddled as she slept on our bed.

During her first event, as she hesitated for a second before going in, she was left the last swimmer on the starting platform. For swimmers, how fast you get off the platform and how further out you go contributes a lot to your finish time.

Her self-doubt showed during the competition, and hampered her four events; although she finished respectably within the second and third quartile. Befitting her gentle nature, she doesn't say anything, but her face expressed disappointment when she saw the official race results as she usually clocks in a decent time during practices.

I didn't know what else to offer her except my encouragement and praise. It is her first competition, after all. That reason alone affords her such an enormous room for growth, I assured her. She just needed to put in more hours for practice. I asked her to go back in time to first grade when she had to learn to do the hula-hoop as part of a graded school activity. It took her weeks upon weeks upon weeks of trying. No matter what she did, that dang hula-hoop simply wouldn't stay where it was supposed to stay. It went down to the ground the moment her hands let go of it. So everyday, as soon as she was done with homework, she went outside to practice. I don't know how long it took her, but I remember my front door neighbor asking J if she still hasn't learned to do it after all the weeks of practice. It must've been that long for a spectator to get tired of watching the incessant practicing, think about what more for the one who was actually doing the practicing. One day, she simply just said that she could do it already!

She was still in a pensive mood as we walked to the ladies' locker. She was perhaps tired from the competition or disillusioned with her ending. We just held hands, and I allowed her this walk in silence. I gave her room to think; I know she needed this time to be with herself.

I comforted her saying "As with everything in life, it is not important to be the best, what is more essential is giving your best." Whenever, the kids would get frustrated with a task that's hard to do, I simply sing them a Barney song, "If you can't do it the first time, try and try again; if you can't do it the second time, don't give up my friend." That works most of the time.

She broke the silence, "Mom, I think I want to practice swimming everyday, even after I go back to school." I slowly breathe a sigh of relief. Now that is what makes her a winner in my book!

Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.
-Helen Keller


jen laceda said...

Congrats on the competition! I am so proud of her! She is just like her auntie (ahem, me!), a devoted swimmer! Once a swimmer, always a swimmer!
As for the hula hoop, the bigger & heavier the hoop, the easier to learn! And the key is SPEED. Start with a fast swing and don't let up! I'm so proud of her!

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