The Charlotte Ultraswim was the last meet I ever raced and, despite a brief dalliance coaching my former high school last year, was the last meet I ever coached. Both times I recall sitting in the stands and wondering if athletes, coaches, and fans saw the event the same way? The thought struck me most as I was talking with a friend.
Augmented Reality without Technology
Amongst many other things, I swam with Mark on the National Team, took enormous pride when he made an Olympic Team, even coached him for a brief moment in time. That day in Charlotte, he caught me in between sessions coding away on my laptop. I was writing an algorithm to analyze the recent NFL Draft and project who might emerge ‘out of nowhere’. I wanted to apply a similar concept to swimming.
Mark laughed because while my behavior was odd for a coach at the meet, it was definitely not the strangest thing he had ever witnessed from me. I smiled, stopped, and talked because Mark has always seen the best in our sport and more importantly given his best to swimming. Athletes, coaches, and fans have all enjoyed swimming more because of Mark.
Look for Answers where None should Exist
Enter Venn diagrams!? A natural translation for a convoluted mind attempting to find convergence. If I understood the science, the motivations, the nuances why was I still looking for answers to what Mark long ago found. The answer for me was to conceptualize each experience and overlay them into a pattern that wouldn’t exist without an understanding or at minimum an appreciation of the others.
Share your Experiences to Enjoy More
Not everything ‘scales’. The most beautiful things are quite the opposite. They are uniquely special to us because of an inherent value. A value driven by the time we spend doing it. I just learned that coaching my 7-year-old son’s baseball team.
On a drive up to the US Open, I learned my wife had graciously ‘volunteered’ my rather pedestrian services. I hadn’t played baseball in over two decades. So little surprise to any, that I hit my son with a pitch. My own son! He looked at me, shook it off, and knocked the next pitch into the outfield. I ran over to first base, like any unbiased coach, put my head to his and told him how proud I was of his resilience.
I’m not a coach, never really was. My sincerest respect for those who wake up at the crack of dawn and spend 18 hours on a pool deck during meets. I’m some hybrid of fascination looking for inspiration from our sport. I want heroes to make dreams come alive, not in a cornfield, but with a swim paddle.