Building Tradition

I wish I made it a priority to consistently blog but I just haven’t seemed to do that yet. What’s important though, is I do blog when something strikes my heart with so much passion and intention that I can’t help but to share it.  Thankfully, that very thing happened to me last week, while watching a swim meet from the deck at Carlson Pool in Hutchinson.  The Tigersharks were racing against a Conference rival, Delano and did defeat the Tigers in the dual.

As I’m sitting quietly (surprisingly not cheering and jumping or screaming) taking in all the sights, the sounds, the smell of chlorine, hearing the music blasting, the announcer rattling names off of swimmers, the whistle blowing, the flags swinging, the splashes of water hitting my face, and the sweat from humidity dripping down my back….

I send a Snapchat to my sister and high school friends of the pool, the race, the 100-yard freestyle and post the amazing time that the Tigersharks swimmers’ raced, and they ask, “Does it bring back the memories?” and I reply….”All the feels….”

I’m watching these teammates from 13-yr-olds to 18-yr-olds have secret handshakes, laughing, high-fiving each other, some fighting off tears, some hugging, and I remember all of it all too well.  It gives me chills to think after my 10-year swimming career, that 14 seasons after our 2003 Championship season, I STILL get to be a part of this team.

You see, when I walk through the halls of our Hutchinson High School to secretly take another peek at my State Championship relay team posted high on the halls (just to make sure it’s still there), I don’t have to look at it and reign in my glory days.  I look at it as a reminder of a tradition, a legacy, of the Hutchinson Tigersharks team and the impact I can still have on these young female athletes.  Now, I’m not saying you need to be a State Champion to be a role model but I can say I know how it felt to swim that last 400-yard Freestyle Relay.  I remember the U of M, I remember the song “Right Now” playing over and over again, I remember the hug from my co-captain Megan when we WON!  And I remember my humble, silent leader of a coach, decked out in some crazy team apparel, Mr. Fairbanks himself.

And now I have the honor to coach the current team, in the weight room again for the 3rd or 4th year in a row and to be a part of tradition.  I will hands down proclaim this is the hardest working team in the league right now.  2-a-day practices 5-6 days per week, conditioning, strength, yoga, 10,000+ yards in the water, and 2 meets a week.  I counted up the hours in my head this weekend, and these 7th – 12th graders are dedicated to swimming (and diving) 30+ hours per week.

I’m so proud of these young athletes, as should be our school and community.  They set an example of dedication, perseverance, strong work ethic, and they STRIVE for Victory.  This group of women not only lead the way in the pool, through the conference, section, and State meets but they lead in the classroom.  They lead each other.  They lead the future generations of High Tides swimmers.

That, is a commitment.  That is tradition.  That is your Tigersharks.


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