My counter.

I’ve been helping with a swim clinic for local high schoolers. Today I counted laps for one of the girls who is hoping to swim on the varsity team this coming year. Among the many things she needs to do to make this dream a reality is to swim a 500 yards in under 9 minutes. It was strange being the one that counted instead of the one swimming. The whole thing made me very nostalgic.

Since my last high school meet the pool has been renovated. Nothing really looks the same, but I can still remember what it was like to compete in that space. I can hear the roar of the crowd and encouraging word from my coaches and team mates. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach as I stepped onto the starting block and the comforting feeling of hitting the water when the race begins. While helping with this clinic a flood of memories has swept over me, and dropping the counter into the water today for someone else was no different.

There is a strange bond that is formed between a distance swimmer and their counter. I remember more than a few times looking down at the end of my before the race and seeing their encouraging smile and feel a rush of confidence. The counter is a constant form of encouragement, when you see the number drop you know someone is cheering for you even though you can hear almost nothing. A 500 can be a long lonely race at times, but I loved it and once upon a time I was pretty good.

The record I once held has been broken. My shoulder can handle very little swimming and nothing too fast, but my mind still has a passion for the water and I am glad to be given this opportunity to share my knowledge and encouragement to this generation of swimmers.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

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Forward.

One year ago I never thought I would be where I am now. Honestly, a year ago I was not quite sure what direction my life would be going and could hardly think a week ahead let alone a year. There are still many things I need to figure out, but day by day I like to think that the picture is getting clearer. I have so many ideas for how I would like my life to move forward, hopes and dreams that might someday come true. The fears of my past still feel like a storm cloud following me but the future is bright, and I plan on pushing forward letting the storm fade away.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

Walking in the dark.

There was a time you could have blindfolded me and I would have known where every root and stone was on the campground. Now that is not so much the case. Tonight I walked in the dark and felt like I was going to trip and fall. I still love every moment I get to spend here, but so much has changed.

Many of the cottages where friends once lived have changed hands and are now occupied by strangers. Where the creek was once deep it is now shallow. It sad to see the things I once did no longer happen, but it is equally wonderful to see new traditions being made.

Although I am sad I can no longer walk fearlessly around in the dark, I am glad the best parts of this place continue to live on generation after generation.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

A combination.

Something about today was strange. It might have been more of a combination of things than one single oddity, but it was there none the less. This heat has set a different kind of tone over everything and I have mixed feeling about my time off. As excited as I am about my plans, and to have a whole week of no work I am still wary of too much time outside of my normal routine. Last year I avoided long stretches of vacation after my February time off went upside down. I know this week off will not be the same, but a part of my brain goes there whether I want it to or not. There are times I really wish I could turn off some memories so I could enjoy the moment without worrying about the past.

Tomorrow is the first Monday in far too long that my alarm will not go off at 5:30 in the morning. Hopefully it will be the first of many amazing things in my vacation adventure. I will do my best to focus on each good thing and leave my fears behind.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

Bread crumbs.

Today I was reminded that looking for a flair to guide me is not worth the effort. What I need to do is look for is the bread crumbs. It would be so much easier if the signs were always big and flashy, but more often it is the little things that show you the correct path. There is no yellow brick road or bright light to guide you. Just hidden trail markers that we have to trust are leading us on our best path possible.

A flair would make it easier, but having to keep an eye out for the little things keeps us humble, strong and wise.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

My dad the athlete.

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When my brother and I were little my dad did not have many of his sports awards out. I never remember seeing his high school or college letters as a kid, and there were not medals on wall or framed newspapers of amazing achievements. The only thing I remember was a plaque hanging in a shadowed corner from when he won, and set a record for long jump at states his junior year of high school.

Through the years we heard stories of the kind of athlete he was and how much he achieved. When I was in elementary school he was inducted into his college’s sports hall of fame and we watched him coach through the years. So a part of us knew, but it was never hung all around us like a goal we were meant to reach.

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As an adult I have seen the patches, awards and news paper clippings. While flipping through it once I asked him why he never had any of it out. His response was simple. He never wanted to put pressure on my brother and I to be athletes. He never wanted his achievements to looming over us like an unescapable shadow.

At the moment my sports awards are out and hanging proudly on the wall. I worked hard for each of my patches and pins and it is nice to be reminded what can be achieved with a little bit of skill and hard work. But someday if I have kids they will go away. I will put them in a box and store them so I am never a shadow for them to escape. After all, I know how much that meant to me.

Happy Father’s Day.

Plans.

When I go for runs I have to remind myself that going faster does not move the mile marker any closer. No matter how fast or slow I go a mile is a mile. I think this is a concept that is important to carry through to other parts of our lives. Too often we think if we hurry here or there, get this or that faster it will help us achieve a goal sooner than we expect. Unfortunately that is very rarely true. In fact the opposite seems to occur more than not. Our desire to move forward and achieve our goals sometimes leads us down the wrong path making our achievements more difficult and our goals further away than before.

The plan is already in motion. God already has us working in the correct direction long before we know what we want. I know sometimes that is difficult to understand and wrap our heads around, but it does not change the truth. In the end every ache and pain, tear and sleepless night will be worth it. His plan is better than yours.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.