Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Like a Fish in Water

This was actually quite a challenge for me. After having three kids, I've noticed that my body doesn't bounce back the way that it once did. It is more of a challenge to me to get myself back into shape when I'm functioning on about 5 hours of sleep. There is also my evil sweet tooth that has been running rampant today. There's a children's book about a sweet tooth that I can definitely relate to. However, even though I'm not feeling particularly beautiful on the outside right now. I do know what it means to be an all around beautiful person.

For me, swimming really began when I was in eighth grade and I was initially going to try diving because my best friend was doing it and I didn't want to feel left out. The head coach advised me otherwise because I had such an athletic build. He wanted me to try swimming and on top of that he wanted me to do long distance swimming. I tried it and I actually liked it, even though during my first 500 meter race I thought that I was going to die! Hey, I had never swam 20 consecutive laps in my life! I survived though and I was asked to come back and join the high school team the next year. I told the coach that I would think about it, and in the end, with the insistence of my parents I joined. I would wake up at 6 am every morning to make it practice at 6:30. We would swim until about 7:30 and then I would put in a full day of school. After school I put in another 2 hour practice. I guess I was just a glutton for punishment, but it got me to the State swimming championships when I was a freshman.

After the season was over, my world was rocked by a move to Las Vegas. The first thought that entered my mind was that I didn't want to leave my coach. He believed in me like no other person in my life had besides my parents. He challenged me and he helped me to build my confidence. I didn't want to leave him, but I did and in the end so many opportunities were open to me. When we moved to Las Vegas I got to have another swim season and I was also able to be exposed to some really great swimming experiences. I competed against top swimmers in the state and I was able to hold my own. I was also the only person on my team to make it to the Regional Championships. Then we moved to a little town outside of San Antonio, Texas and I was challenged again.

If you don't know, sports in Texas are taken very seriously. Many professional athletes are home grown in Texas, it's just a way of life. When I joined the swim team there, it was relatively new and there were very few of us. We had to make sacrifices to find times and places to practice and if we really wanted to be serious about it we had to find these things on our own. My parents were able to find me a great program where I felt challenged and my competitive edge really developed because I was training with the COMPETITION. By law, Samuel Clemens High School HATED Judson High School and here I was making friends with the enemy. It was really a great experience and I was once again able to make the Regional Championships within our division. It was great.

So why did I share these stories with you? It's because to me, beauty is strength and confidence in who you are. The place that I feel the most beautiful is in a swimming pool while I'm swimming laps. I can feel the strength in my legs and arms propelling me forward. I can feel my lungs expanding and then releasing in a rhythm that is all my own. I feel confident when I am able to see the muscles that are building as a result of my hard work. I also feel confident when I know that I've put in a good workout doing a sport that I love and that I am really good at. I hope that one day my own children can learn the satisfaction of hard work paying of and the rewards of success and sportsmanship. Now, I think I hear the pool calling me :)

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