I’ve got this racket going on, y’all, where my wife thinks I’m a total saint, but I’m really just a sinner and it has to do with swim meets. See, the two women who regularly help with the kiddos are no longer on board. (One had a family / medical issue and the other is flat on her back, literally, thanks to a weird back situation which actually required surgery — shout out to you, J, if you’re reading — get better!)
Which means we’re totally without dependable help when it comes to our large brood. And that means we can’t both see our oldest compete in swim meets because we don’t have anyone to get our littles through the dinner/bath/bedtime gauntlet. Which means that yours truly has been staying home on Thursday nights to do just that while my lovely wife goes to the meets so she can (a) cheer for our oldest and (b) enjoy some (well-deserved) time away from the kids. And she’s been so incredibly appreciative of it.
So why am I a sinner?
Because I’m allowing her to praise me profusely for this huge sacrifice I’m making when the truth is I’d rather walk around in a Donna Versace mask for a month than attend a damn swim meet. Because I hate swim meets, y’all. And I always have.
Actually, check that. No I haven’t. Young JCO (I’m talking the four-year-old model, here) used to be enthralled by them. See, my older siblings swam on the team and it always looked like so much fun. They’d sit around and play cards under a canopy and eat cool treats and basically just kick until it was time to swim. Then between events? Same deal.
So I signed up as soon as I could and at first, it really was fun to sit around and play cards and eat junk under the canopies between events. So I was totally game. Until I was like eight or something, at which point I became self-aware enough to realize one a major objection. That banana hammock I was required to wear.
I know. It’s so lame to admit that I hate the way Speedos look. And I’m sure tons of y’all will say it’s because I’m insecure or not evolved or bass-ackwards. But I think it’s because I think that Speedos, like their tighty-whitey brethren, look stupid on folks.
And even if you don’t agree, surely you’d agree with this: it’s tough to wear a banana hammock when you’re eight and you don’t really have a banana. Right? So I did what any other short-sighted, banana-less kid would do.
Fast forward umpteen jillion years and I was actually excited to go to my first swim meet in my new capacity of stepdad. I mean, I’m all about the spectator sports, to be certain. And my negative past association with swim meets, I figured, was just that: a negative past association. Time to start anew and give them another chance. So I went in certain I’d no longer dislike them. But then something funny happened.
I got there.
And it sucked even worse than it did before.
It was in the mid 90s. I was dripping with sweat. There were a zillion people there, but not a single place to sit. And a zillion people with no place to sit means a zillion “hey, how you been” conversations with folks to whom you may or may not want to talk.
But it’s more than sweaty small talk which soured me. It was the sheer length of the thing. Hell, if I’d known I woulda brought something to read. Like War and Peace or something.
So, yeah, my bad if I’m coming off all negative, but standing around after a long day of work for, well, the length of an entire work day in 90-degree heat making small talk with Cooper Wentworth’s wife (totally made up name) isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.
Fine. I’m exaggerating a little bit on the work-day thing. Swim meets don’t really last 8 hours. (Until the City Meet. that damn thing lasts like a week or something…) But they do last every bit of four hours. Sometimes five. And call me wacky, but committing to a sporting event for 300 minutes so you can see your child compete for exactly two and a half of them isn’t exactly the best return on your investment.
So I’m out, man. I hate ’em. Only my wife’s clearly forgotten this fact. Or else she wouldn’t continuously thank me for staying home with the Littles so she could go to the meet.
She’d make me wash her car or something.