Now that school is out, the grandsons are into summer sports. We love to see those chaps any time, but being able to attend one of their sporting events makes us feel even more a part of their lives. Our daughters regularly text their dad or send pictures and videos from the boys’ games, so Dearly Beloved, retired Superjock, relishes every minute of being able to actually be there for some event.
This week, we timed a visit so that we could see two of the grandsons at one of their swim meets.
As I watched our daughter pack enough snacks and drinks for 40 days and nights on the ark, I asked was she packing be for the entire team. She shook her head.
“The meets last a long time.”
I took along my knitting, just in case.
We arrived over an hour early, per team rules, for the warmups and believe me, we heated up within minutes. I don’t know about the teams. There was no shade on the bleachers except for a few tents for the teams.
I was there only to see two kids swim, so I paid no attention to how many teams were involved. With so many swimmers out there, I figured at least a dozen.
Nope, there were only two: the Sharks and the Jets. No wait–that’s West Side Story. I don’t know who these gangs were, but I saw evidence of taunting and illegal weapons, like this:
Someone wrote the Events, Heats, and Laps on the swimmers’ bodies. I thought that was overkill until I watched the organized chaos involved in a meet this large. The announcements droned on and on: Event #– and Heat #–... Last call for Event #– and Heat #–. Stay out of the shallow end of the pool… Even if you’re just sitting on the steps there, get out of that end of the pool… Everyone off the deck except swimmers and timers… etc. etc.
By the third Event, my backside had melted onto the cement bleachers and the sun had branded me a true redneck. The meet was progressing more slowly than I’d thought, so now I realized the significance of all those numbers written on the kids. When Bubbles returned from Event #3 to block my view once more, I looked at her shoulder to see if I could get an idea of how many events there were.
Sweet Nannie of Neptune, please tell me that 77 on her back is a tattoo and not an event number!
I beckoned to one of the grandsons and looked at the numbers written on his arm. His last swim would be in Event #81.
I looked at daughter for confirmation.
“Yep, you’ll be able to finish knitting that sweater.”
Dearly Beloved searched for a shady spot and found one on the grassy hill off to the side of the bleachers. Someone had recently planted roses in the grass against the fence, probably hoping to cover chain links, but for now, I spread a towel on the grass between two rose bushes and leaned against it. Chain link never felt so good.
The lights came on at Event 27 and the sky clouded over after the sun disappeared.
The announcements droned on… people still in the shallow end, too many people on deck….
I continued knitting. Youngest grandson kept snacking.
We weren’t even halfway through with the events. Only Divine Intervention was going to end this thing. The dads had 5-o’clock shadows. The roses were starting to grow over me and weeds took over the grass. Still, the meet continued.
Was that a faint rumble of thunder? YES! Another one! Come on, RAINOUT!
“Do not leave,” the announcer called. “There has been no lightning. Swimmers back in the water, please. Should you see lightning, please inform us.”
Another clap of thunder.
“Swimmers out of the water. Take shelter under the tents.”
Um… would that be the tents with the metal poles?
“Do not leave the premises. We cannot call the meet until thirty minutes after the first clap of thunder.”
A little boy nearby begged his mother to go home. “It’s a storm!” he told her.
“I am a parent representative. I will be the last to leave, ” she proclaimed dramatically, standing erectly as her electrified hair followed suit. Her son ran to the snack bar and cowered under the eaves.
“DO NOT leave the premises. You may take shelter inside the building.”
Holy cow, do they have Swim Police guarding the front gate? Apparently, the necessity of waiting thirty minutes after the first sound of thunder is #1 in swim team hierographology.
Lord, I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but one itsy bitsy zap to that speaker system might get us out of here.
Is this considered a hostage situation? Can we call in the National Guard?
(I was watching a baseball game the other night when officials saw an approaching storm cell on radar and covered the field with a tarp even though not a drop had fallen. Less than two minutes later, rain was splashing on that blue tarp. That, folks, is weather technology.)
Accuweather? Doppler radar? Nowcasting?
“You may go to your cars, but do not leave the premises.”
More thunder. My hair frizzed. I am not a wet t-shirt affectionado. I grabbed Elmo and made a break for it. The two of us sat in the car and sang songs until the thirty-minute mark finally freed the families who, incidentally had handled it all quite calmly. However, the roar of car engines about 30.5 minutes AT (after thunder) made the Indianapolis 500 sound wimpy.
So… that’s where I’ve been this week, hiding out from the swim team police. I have nightmares in which parent representatives with electrified hair force me to sit through 100 Events with five heats each…where I awaken in the shallow end of the pool to hear the Announcer cursing my presence there. I dream of being shot with a starter gun, being surrounded by bubbles in the water….
It may take time, but I hope for a full recovery– in time for basketball season.