I know there are a lot of people in the swim world who think that British sports journalist Craig Lord singlehandedly brought about the banning of high-tech swimsuits. But, as I watched Mr. Coach watch his athletes with more trepidation than usual this past week, I realized there are other people who may bear responsibility for the demise of those full-body flotation devices. And that would be Messrs. Schick and Gillette, followed closely by Mr. Band-Aid and Mr. Neosporin. With the loss of the high-tech suit, we have regained a commitment to hairless bodies gliding through water, and I am sure these other gentlemen are very happy about that.
It’s been a few years, I’ve also realized, since the buildup to conference championships brought with it a nervousness that goes beyond hoping that everyone hits their taper correctly. It’s a nervousness that had Mr. Coach monitoring Facebook the night of the boys’ big shaving party for embarrassing photos and reports of uncontrollable bleeding.
Of course there are no such worries with the girls, but I don’t want to turn this into yet another “Differences Between Coaching Girls vs. Boys” blog.
Oh, who are we kidding, of course I do.
Difference No. 582: Girls can shave their legs without cutting off their legs.
Difference No. 583: Girls may come up with a lot of strange excuses for socializing (decorating baked goods for major holidays, scrapbooking, and discussing the moral failings of entire fraternal organizations) but removing hair from their bodies usually is not one of them. Shaving down is just one more of those purpose-driven activities with girls, so they tend to hunker down and “git‘r done” without the benefit of pizza or homoerotically-charged bonding rituals.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Some of my best friends have been men who shave their bodies and wear spandex, sometimes even latex, all year long, and they’re not even swimmers. It’s just that when they are swimmers, there’s an increase in giddiness and a decrease in fine-motor-skill control that makes their coach very, very nervous.
But you know what? It’s kind of nice to be buying Band-Aids in bulk again. As they say on those road signs on the way into Maine, it’s “The Way Life Should Be.”
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And on this vivid note, I’d like to take my leave of the Mrs. Coach Chronicles. I never really thought I’d do this for as long as I have, but I also promised myself that I’d stop before I ran out of things to say. All I set out to do in the beginning was create a record of my family’s experiences in this sport, and I feel as if I’ve accomplished that and then some.
I’d like to thank everyone who has found the site and especially those who have come back every week for more. If you’d like to drop a line and say hi and introduce yourself, I’d love to hear from you (there’s an email link in my profile). It’s been an absolute delight to look at the site’s traffic reports and see some of the locations around the globe where people are logging in from. But if you don’t, that’s OK, too. Just know that I appreciated your taking the time to read.
And don’t worry – I’ll be leaving the site up as an archive. I’ve had some very kind suggestions to get this whole thing published as a book, but honestly, I don’t know of a publisher who’d go for something as specific in topic as this. But if you do, by all means, send them my way.
In the meantime, I hope that swimming and all that surrounds this crazy sport continues to enrich your lives the way it has mine. And think of these stories as having been my little Valentine to the world of sport.