Despite yesterday’s sunny disposition, I found myself with a bittersweet cloud hanging above my head. Yesterday was the official end of my high school swim career. I have been dragging myself to swim practice for three years now, and although it seemed like I had more reasons to hate it than love it, I know I will miss it more than anything because it wasn’t just a sport; it was a lifestyle, and I loved it. I loved not wearing makeup because I knew, in a matter of hours, it would all be washed away and the real me would be revealed whether I was wearing mascara or not. I loved driving the freshman and sophomore girls to practice and hearing their problems, giving advice when I felt like I had two cents worth sharing. I loved hating certain workouts. Does it even make sense to love hating something? I loved the burning of my muscles on a Monday when I’ve gone two days without swimming. I loved how my sport had problems no other sport had (do I need to even address swim cap, speed suit, and broken goggles problems?!)
Let’s just say swimming is not a sport you do to look attractive, feel confident, or stay warm. Far from it. I was constantly confronted with purple toes and fingertips, shivering in my bones from the air and water temperature difference. My body sat in anxiety as I waited for a buzzer to ring through the air. I swam my fastest through cloudy water with unidentified floating objects. (Don’t worry I won’t elaborate on that one.) I saw guys in speedos who should not be wearing speedos. But, despite all of these terrible and gross things, I know that next year, when November hits and I’m sitting in a college dorm room, I’m going to miss the beginning of a season that has nothing to do with the weather outside.
As I sit here, sad and happy with the end of something I’ve loved ending, I can’t help but smile and dance a little at the idea that I’m moving onto a whole new lifestyle. Although my college decision hasn’t been finalized, I know that I’ll find a new excitement and joy and experience in a different place. I can only hope that all you readers out there have felt, loved, and cherished this same bittersweet transition. My three years in this sport have taught me a few things: 1) Always bring an extra swim cap to practice 2) Guys with shaved legs are either very dedicated or really weird 3) If what you look like keeps you from enjoying and experiencing something, you’re seriously missing out 4) Don’t let your own fears scare you out of opportunity because it’s that opportunity that will change who you are.