Now that Thanksgiving is over, high school swim season is just around the corner—Anna’s first meet is four days from now. Two friends and I are the volunteer “meet officials” for her school so we are in charge of the timers, setting up the computer, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
Anna’s school has a combined middle school/high school team, which at first glance sounds nuts, but it works. The middle schoolers (7th and 8th graders) pair up with “big brother/ big sisters” (upperclassmen) who cheer for them, support them, and help them acclimate to the team.
This is Anna’s first year being a big sister, and she’s taking her job as role model for a tween girl very seriously. She’ll be emphasizing team spirit, cheering for teammates, sportsmanship and helping clean up after the meet.
Tween girls go through a lot of changes in such a short period of time that life can get overwhelming for them. There’s sports, school, boys, and concerns about body image. In addition, today’s tweens are dealing with all the social pressures found in social media that we as parents never had to deal with. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat can add to social pressures and in some cases lead to isolation.
The blessing of swimming two hours a day four or five days a week is that phones and computers are not allowed near the pool—the kids can’t check Instagram while executing a flip turn! But more importantly, there is less time for social media. Swimming on a team, or participating in any sport, leads to real friendships and face-to-face conversations.
I know it sounds crazy, but as the first meet approaches I’m really looking forward to managing the meet with my friends and watching the girls form new friendships.