Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Madness That Is Knoxville's City Meet

As I've written before, the 500Jerk kids swam for the KRC swim team this summer.  And in the interests of full disclosure, let me be clear that only Boy Wonder swam the entire summer.  Miss M swam for half the summer, and then only after we bribed her with a video gaming system.   Yes, BRIBED.  Don't judge.

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 insurmountable challenging.  Some teams have almost 200 kids.  And for each child, there are two parents, a cooler, folding chairs, a whole lot of reading material, and various assorted bored siblings in tow.  Food, drinks, and games for the small people are a must because City Meet lasts all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday.  Besides, once you've finally found a semi-legal parking spot on UT's campus, you're in for the duration.

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! 

1 comment:

BJF said...

Still laughing over this. First time I could ever say: Glad I wasn't there.

Looks like the kids enjoy it and it looks like fun. Chaotic but fun.