After all the many practices and meets, Knoxville summer swim programs culminate in one utterly out-of-control two-day jam-packed local event at the University of Tennessee. This is "City Meet," where thirty or forty teams in the Knoxville area gather to compete. The logistical issues are
Warm-ups start at 7:30AM. This means your child needs to have eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, packed a bag, including dry clothes, traveled to UT, and actually made it to the Aquatic Center by approximately 7:25AM. This is not for the faint of heart.
Boy Wonder looking a bit faint of heart.
Each swim team has a tent in the Aquatic Center parking lot or a nearby sidewalk, and all the parents set up folding chairs under the tent to avoid Knoxville's searing July sun. Parents in the know grab the coveted spots on the sides of the tent, where ingress and egress is assured. This was our first year, though, so we were stranded in the baking hot middle of the tent. Awesome.
Your child's name is written in Sharpie marker on their right shoulder. Like a brand. You also write race times, numbers, and events on their forearms. Even though it's on the child's arm, this information is strictly for the parents, because after parents indelibly inscribe all the necessary data elements, the kids never look at their forearms again. In fact, they hold their forearms out for YOU to read. Why don't parents just write the information on their own arms? Or--here's a thought. PAPER.
Parents and kids wait outside until swim times are called over speakers. It's very crowded. Also, hot. Did I mention this goes on all day?
The kids, naturally, have a blast. They play games, cheer, and run around outside the tents. It's a big social occasion, with super tight, skimpy garb. Turns out, we knew quite a few people at the event, as well. And you know what? After seeing how hard the coaches and kids work, the parents get excited, too. It's really, really fun.
Let me qualify: Really, really HOT fun.
Miss M put in a great performance swimming freestyle, backstroke, and relays. We were so proud of her and see? That Xbox 360 paid off. Boy Wonder had great races as well, and as it turns out, the Boy has a pretty good backstroke. He even qualified for some of the final races, which made him happy. All in all, the kids seemed to get a kick out of City Meet. They definitely want to go again next year.
And me? After rising before dawn both days, schlepping all that stuff to and fro, then sitting it out in the hot, hot heat for two days, I really didn't recover until late Tuesday.
Can't wait 'til next year!