"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wishing Good Luck

There's a heckuva back story here, but let's just say I'm not coaching high school swimming this year, and I'm not very happy about that. I'd worked with some great kids and looked forward to seeing them through their high school years. Where there was once a Marco Polo team, my assistant coach and I had built a winning program, a division-ranked team, a county championship team. We'd helped polliwogs develop into sea hawks. We included anyone and everyone who was interested in being a member of this team, and it worked.

When the kids found out the school wasn't re-signing me, several swore they wouldn't swim this year. It would be their way of protesting the change. But these are their high school years, their time to shine, to grow, to enjoy, to succeed. I hoped they'd carry on, and most have returned to the team.

The project:
Keeping the conversation positive.

10 minutes

Why bother?
I was blessed with a group of teens who were all really good kids. OH SURE, some could be a major pain in the neck at times, but all of them were basically good kids. And several of them were fabulous people, people you'd want to know just because they're wonderful to be around. Though (I'll say it) I'm a bit bitter about the school's decision to "go a different direction" this year, I still support these young people's decisions to continue in their sport, to strive for excellence.

So when today, for the first time since the contract decision was made last fall, I ran into one of the girls, I kept our conversation light, positive. It was clear she wasn't sure she should bring up swimming, so I broke the tension by asking about it. I wished her well, encouraged her to work toward her own goals regardless of what the powers-that-be do, asked about the team and HER plans for the season. I wished her the best of luck, with all my heart.

Worth it?

May seem silly to include this as a good deed, but it's been pretty traumatic for me, and most of the team members. So, to be able to act like a mature person, rise above politics and move on in support of these kids, well, I think it counts! ;)

Next I'll work on not whining about it to anyone else. ;)

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