Yesterday I did something that I have not done in a LOOOONG time.
I put on a swimsuit, cap and googles and went swimming.
Not "playing around in the water" swimming, but actual swim training.
It has been years since I had been in the pool. I first began swimming competitively when I was 7 years old. I was in love with it from the day I started and spent the next 11 years trying to be the best that I could. 5am practice? No problem (well, for me. My parents was probably another story). Two practices a day? No problem. I walked around smelling like chlorine and did not mind. Swimming was mine and I wanted to be number 1.
When I got back in the water yesterday, it felt amazing. I was actually smiling underwater for the first couple laps. All the memories of how much I enjoyed swimming rushed back and I could not believe it has taken me this long to get back into the water.
Since swimming gives you a lot of time to think as you go back and forth, my children and their love for sports came to mind. Do they have this passion that I did? Is it this fun for them too?
We spend A LOT of time on the sports field. And for the amount of time we spend watching ESPN, I know they love sports. But I hate to say this, I do not see smiles running around on their face when it is time to compete. I see stress, anxiety and the need to win. In fact, their performance is never what I hear about at the end of the game. It is if they won or loss. Have I created this? Sometimes I think I have. Actually, I know I have. Not intentionally of course. I just think that perhaps we take everything a little too seriously compared to how my parents did.
Do not get me wrong. My father got kicked off soccer fields. We were an intense family. But my dad never made me feel that winning was everything and that failure was possible. I absolutely loss races. But all a loss meant is that I wanted to work harder. I NEVER heard from my dad how I could have performed better. I never realized that until now. I want them to be the best they can be because they want to, not because I have made them feel like they need to. Winning should be an accomplishment, not an expectation.
I do not know if we are doing things right or wrong. Parenting is hard isn't it. I figure as long as we try our best, we will be okay, but I do know that when my children are parents, I want them to feel the same way about their old passions that I did yesterday and smile.