Parents make sacrifices for their children. When kids need new sneakers, parents wear the same pair for six years. (Duct tape adds swag!) When kids need money for summer camp, parent’s root canals can wait. (Pain builds character!) And when our children register for a crack-of-dawn sport (CODS), parent’s REM sleep actually isn’t all that important. In my humble, sleep-deprived opinion, two sports test the strength of dark roast effectiveness like no other – swimming & hockey.
Now I’m sure there are those of you out there who disagree, believing YOUR sport to be the more time-consuming and carpool manic test of athleticism, but tough cookies – my blog, my vent! Here’s the thing, while I don’t have a hockey player, I do have a swimmer. He’s new to the year round aspect of the sport, but he loves it, so we sacrifice sleep and embrace the CODS with open fin.
Sunday morning, somewhere between Zero Dark 30 and Time to Make the Donuts, we arrived for a meet. In the minivan clogged parking lot, parents resembling the Thriller cast poured out of their cars with Styrofoam cups of energy and carry-on luggage eye bags, all muttering words of encouragement to their little fish. For some, it was one fish, others a school, and on the walk to the building I noticed a phenomena. With the exception of one Lexus and a scattering of mid-life crisis mobiles, which I assumed belonged to supportive grandparents, EVERY vehicle had a bumper sticker proclaiming the occupants allegiance to a Crack-of-Dawn-Sport. “Eat my bubbles!” “Future NHL All-Star!” Even the stick figure families had, well, sticks.
And that’s when it hit me.
Dear Lord, it’s a cult! We’ve joined a spandex-and-goggle-wearing cult!
Once inside my husband and I took our seats, a mere two hours before start time, and enjoyed the chlorine soaked fog-wafting high above the pool to our backside numbing bleachers. (Nothing accentuates my naturally curly hair like an enclosed space and 90% humidity; I went from a few curls to early Donna Summer in under thirty seconds.)
Among the throngs of sweat-drenched spectators, it quickly became apparent Hubby, and I were out of our league as far as cheerleader preparedness. We brought a camera to document our guppy in action. Normal, right? One would think. Nevertheless, there were a few, shall we say more immersed parents with cameras, stopwatches, video, cowbells (too bloody early for cowbells), and several other gadgets and gizmos to capture their budding Phelps for all eternity. By no means were these fanatics the norm; however, there were enough Tiger-Mom wannabes to strike fear in the heart of the novice swim parent.
I was left to ponder why – why do swim, and I presume hockey parents resort to such behavior? What makes the freezing and/or sauna temps worth the traipsing back and forth at ungodly hours to Timbuktu?
I’m not a scientist, but I have a theory. I believe the chemical thinned air, coupled with our love for our children impacts judgment, and therefore, trumps all common sense – that, or insanity runs in the family.
*Side note – our guppy improved his time in all three of his events! And yes, we’ll be back for more. And more. And more. God help us.