Saturday, June 16, 2012

i survived another pete johnston.

last year during my blog challenge, i was always talking about how i was never going to blog about the same thing twice.

so i'd been worrying for almost a week about what i was going to blog about today.

today was pete johnston memorial invitational, and i blogged about it last year.

what was i going to blog about this year? what else could i blog about on pete johnston day?

screw it. i'm blogging about pete johnston again.

a slight recap if you weren't with me last year.

pete johnston is: a swim meet in the middle of june for summer swim. it's an invititonal, which means that lots of teams come. it's a memorial meet for pete johnston, a swimmer that died in 1993.

i've been going to pete johnston since i was four.

now that i'm twenty-one, that's seventeen years.

okay. i haven't swum in every single one of them. i'm too old to swim. my last year of swimming pete johnston was when i was nineteen, and i can't pretend that i went to every single meet when i was little.

but hey. for all purposes. seventeen pete johnstons.

when i was younger, i used to love it. all of the kids that i swam with in the winter weren't on my summer team, and i'd get to see them. each team pitches a tent back in the field behind the pool and we all sit together like a big camping trip, and i'd get to see all my old friends.

never mind that it was a hundred degrees. that the meet went slowly. i was having fun.

this is my fourth year coaching pete johnston. i do mind that it moves slowly.

and boy do i mind that it's hot.

today it was a whopping ninety-four degrees. and i get to stand outside on a cement pool deck.

but i'll back up.

wake up time: 5:44 am. song of choice: naked as we came- live. iron and wine.

i didn't pack my stuff the night before like usual because i was blogging about other things. while i was waiting for my oatmeal to cool, i filled my cooler with string cheese, blueberries, apples, a giant water bottle with a handle and a straw, a vitamin water, and a bag of pretzels.

i packed my giant work purse. i had a hoodie in case the morning was chilly, a book (for no apparent reason), some migraine medicine, my car keys, and my coach's clipboard that says COACH EMILY on it in big letters.

i ate my breakfast. i grabbed one of my dad's boy scout camping chairs. and i headed straight to starbucks.

me: i need the biggest java chip that you've got.
starbucks girl: are you sure?
me: yep. extra whipped cream.
starbucks girl: that'll be six dollars.
me: TOTALLY WORTH IT.

the guy who took my money was really nice. he asked me if i was enjoying the cool morning. i told him i'd be enjoying the hot day.

yummm. java chip.
i sped to park forest pool. i was late. but luckily, i pulled in right when hannah and emma did, and we parked near each other. and we hauled the giant tarp together and set up camp underneath our tent.

instagram picture of starbucks: seven oh three am. in the rising sun! so epic!

kids started coming at around... seven twenty. we had warm ups at seven forty-five.

my team has 140 kids. we had eighteen swimming. eighteen.


but honestly, that makes my job a hell of a lot easier. so i wasn't that upset.

hannah and emma, being fantastic head coaches, got a pete johnston coaches packet. equipped with two heat sheets.

parker, sammy and i didn't get any. i went to go ask concessions for some with a twenty dollar bill, and they were out. how does that happen?!

sammy begged and begged to the heat sheet people. they reluctantly printed off one and told her to scram and not come back.

(side note. i just checked my twitter. there is an angry tweet from joey, park forest's coach. i think he's still at the meet. poor bastard. i'm all home and showered and blogging.)

so warm up was a fiasco. we had two lanes, which is fine for eighteen kids, but we had fifteen minutes.

100 free. 4 twenty-fives off the blocks, IM order. then it's time to scram to make way for the next team.

if you didn't understand a word of that, you're fine. swimming has its own language, and my blog is not the place to explain it.

we did a team cheer. my starbucks, by eight o'clock, was already melty and weird, so i started in on my vitamin water, which was yummy. i ran into david cole, arlington's coach and a friend from high school. he had a huge boot on his foot and couldn't for the life of me tell me what was wrong with it.

i lamented about the terrible tan lines he was about to get. then i laughed at his misfortune.

pete johnston is one of those meets with hundreds of kids swimming and coaches milling around everywhere and hot angry parents fanning themselves with expensive heat sheets. by eight thirty it was almost ninety. hannah and emma and i were camped out by the brick wall with the pine valley coaches. my vitamin water was gone by nine thirty.

with the way the sun is, it slowly rises on our left sides. my left arm is considerably tanner than my right. but this year i was smart! i put on sun screen early! before the meet even started! last year was a disaster.

my shins, my nose, and my eyelids are still sunburnt. my big red glasses (my jesus glasses, so named by the BOP in high school) have given me a nice tan line.

don't get me started on my shorts tan line.

by nine our shirt sleeves were rolled up. arlington had some pretty sweet tank tops. we're going to invest in these.

then i started to feel old. in the swimming circuit, everybody knows everybody. everybody who swims on a club team knows everybody else who swims on another club team, who swims for another summer team.

i saw a kid that was fourteen.

i remember when he was a baby and his mother breast fed him at swim meets. what is happening to my life. how did i get old. when did these kids grow up. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD. 


so hannah and emma and i start shooting the breeze. we don't have that many kids swimming, so we sit on the low brick wall with our various beverages and clipboards and gossip. who's fast? who grew a foot? and of course, we laugh at the starter, because mr. frain has started this meet since the beginning of time (or when my dad didn't start it because my daddy used to) and he's getting stressed out about swimmer cards. real stressed out.

about halfway through the meet, parents tell us to get off the wall and get out of the way, they can't see their children swimming.

um, excuse me. the spectator area is on the other side of the pool. this is the coaching side of the pool. we're the fuggin' coaches. sorry that we're in your way. go sit somewhere else.

but bitchy parents are the worst part of my job. we five coaches sat down on the ground and stuck out our legs on the pavement and ignored them. even though they're paying us to coach our children and telling us to leave.

after about half an hour of our butts getting sore, we coined the term "butt trubs."

you know, bottom troubles. sore asses, if you will.

soon the shoes were off. the shorts were getting rolled up to dangerous levels. we were screaming for children to splash us as they swam by. every time the sun came out from behind a cloud, oh lord. on that pavement, it was at least a hundred degrees.

about halfway through the meet, i saw kayla, another park forest coach, on the roof of the building. on the roof.


some kid had thrown his goggles up there.

yesterday i was dehydrated. it was a hundred degrees. i had my water bottle with a straw and a handle.

i sucked that thing down like i was about to die. i peed about five times during the meet. i was not going to mess around with dehydration today. i drank three of that water bottle, a vitamin water, and a coffee. no dehydration for me!

pete johnston with a headache is one of the worst experiences that life can throw at you. you avoid it at all costs.

food is always a problem at this meet. we only had two meal tickets, and my food was way back at the tent. i spent some time eating blueberries and pretzels, but then i had to go do my job. screaming for kids. cheering them on. giving them hugs and high fives. being coach emily.

coach emily knows not what food is.

about halfway through the meet i started to get dizzy. then my hand started to get tingly.

oops. i've had problems with hypoglycemia before.

i stole a girl's oreos. i have no regrets. i needed that sugar.

toward the end of the meet, mrs. uchtman, one of our swim moms, gave us some ice.

ladies. if you're overheated, you know where to stick that ice.

in the words of mrs. uchtman: stick it between your sisters.

oh glorious, glorious wet and cool breasts.

and you know what? nobody cares that the whole front of your shirt is soaked at the boobs. because you're a coach and damnit, you are beyond shame. you are beyond it.

overall, pete johnston this year was great. it went by very quickly. i was home by two fifteen, having arrived at six forty-five. my shorts tan line is a thing to behold. i spent most of the meet barefoot, which is incredible, because after the heels breaking incident of 2008, i can't stand for too long. i stayed hydrated. i didn't lose my voice.

and the best part?

i had fun.

pete johnston is always this big deal that looms in the future. oh man, pete johnston is next weekend. ugh. pete johnston.


uneven tan lines. angry parents. no food. screaming and cheering and being peppy. being exhausted. tired feet. unbearable heat.

but it's so damn fun.

and i love my job so damn much.



this post is dedicated to pete johnston, swimmer and friend, may 10th 1974 to june 17th 1993. you made the world of swimming a better place.

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