One of Many Races
This paragraph was written on Saturday, but I decided not to publish it until today.
My daughter's love for the sport of swimming has
always been evident from her smile!
The moment of focus before a race. (photo August 2011)
In just a few hours, my daughter will swim a mile. She is trying to break a record - one she has been chasing for a while. Last year it was nearly within her grasp. After a year of vigorous training and successful swims at the Division 1 college level, she is faster and stronger. Unfortunately, her other swims at this meet - for whatever reason - have not reflected those improvements. She fears the record-breaking swim she knows she is capable of may not happen.
Last night, I realized it really doesn't matter. No matter how fast she swims this race, she has already achieved the prize. Every coach she has ever had, every athlete she has ever swum with or against, every person she has ever taught a swim lesson, and all of the families we have known through swimming over the past 13 years are a part of this, and every race.
I have so many treasured memories of times she has been cheered by swimmers, spectators and coaches. The friends we have made, and the life lessons she has learned through this sport are the real prize. A record-breaking swim would just be an extra sugar-rose on an already heavily-iced cake.
There is still a good chance she will break that record. But no matter the outcome of the race, she is already a champion. I could not be more proud of her than I already am.
A fast time on a stop-watch is something to smile about, but the victory of sports is measured in many ways.
The race was swum and the record remains unbroken - but so does my daughter's spirit. She knows there will be more races and more opportunities in her future - and that some will work out and some will not. Sometimes life is about the journey, not the finish.