Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Off Season

For the college swimmers, it’s now the Off Season, that hallowed time of year when waistlines explode and GPAs can implode.

Seriously, despite ALL the complaining ALL season long about the cramp that swimming puts into their academic schedule, the minute these kids get handed an extra 3-5 hours a day for the remainder of the semester (not counting nap time), Mr. Coach has found that some of them have problems staying academically motivated. More than one Dean’s List student has looked at that long, uninterrupted chunk of afternoon time and decided that it’s best spent in the company of Mr. Nintendo, rather than Mr. Organic Chemistry Textbook.

Time management is like a muscle that works best when it’s being exercised strenuously. You know how sometimes it feels harder to swim or run slowly than it does to go fast? Well, the Off Season is like a world-class sprinter who only needs to walk across the street now but gets confused, wanders straight into traffic, and ends up on the front grill of an ice cream delivery truck.

Thankfully these days Mr. Coach has a large group of highly committed geeks who beat up on any teammate who threatens to deflate the team GPA even one-tenth of a point (they’re also keeping close tabs on the visiting recruits and making sure that Mr. Coach isn’t letting anyone who’s brain dead into the Class of 2013).

At the same time, a couple of these geeks have decided they also need to cram a little more excitement into this year’s Off Season by swimming the English Channel.

“Oh, that Mrs. Coach,” you are chortling to yourself. “Always the kidder.”

No, I am not kidding. Two of the guys are preparing to swim the English Channel in relay fashion this summer. “W-W-Why?!” you ask. Well, you can go to their Web site and find out for yourself and maybe even get involved in the Channeling Peace Initiative. I’m still at the point where I’m trying to wrap my brain around the fact that even though neither one of them will do a 400 IM unless threatened with bodily harm, they want to swim the English Channel.

Oh, and guess who they’re taking to pace them? That’s right. Mr. Coach. He can get in and out of the water (into the pilot boat) and wear a wet suit (they can only wear Speedos and Crisco), but still. It’s the frickin’ English Channel. 21 miles wide and a pleasant 59 degrees Fahrenheit. If the hypothermia doesn’t get you, the oil tankers will. And then I’ll have to change the title on my blog to “The Mrs. Late Coach Chronicles.”

Anyway, there you have it: the Off Season. It’s the time of year when athletes and the ding-dongs who coach them lose control of their minds.

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