Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meanwhile, At The Pool

It is truly impossible to believe that there are only six weeks left of school. [For the record, all learning appears to have stopped. We are in all-review, all the time mode for the hated SOLs.] Seeing as the summer, and swim team, are soon upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to get Maggie in the pool a few days a week to get back in swim shape. She ages up to the 9-10 bracket this year and all those short 25s become 50 meter races. A little head start on the endurance couldn't hurt. Not to mention practice on flip turns.

She was game. Much to, well, everyone's surprise, Eion said he wanted to be on swim team again and wanted to start practicing with Maggie. Bless his heart, the poor kid only garnered one point the entire season (and that one was really in error) and came in last. Nearly every time. If he wanted to quit, we'd totally understand. It might be, in the most selfish of ways, easier than dealing with his weekly heartbreak when things go poorly.

But conversely, refusing to let him do an activity he proactively asks for seemed a bad idea. Back in the water  it is!

Wednesday we went to the first practice. The kids are getting mixed in with some year-round swimmers but there are enough lanes so they can flight them. Maggie made a friend with a girl her age and they spent the whole time together, as much as one can in the water that is. Mags looked like she had never been away. Her first 50 free was as fast as she ever swam. She was tired later but seems well on her way to being a completely competent summer swimmer. (We aim high around here.)

Eion, quite frankly, shockingly, did really well. His swimming did not even resemble drowning, which was a first. He was all smiles afterwards and both were thrilled they happened upon a birthday their first practice, which meant cookies!

We planned to go on Mondays and Wednesdays as Tuesday and Thursday were already occupied by music lessons. But this morning when Eion asked excitedly, "Can I swim again today?" I figured why not. Maggie is out of town on a field trip so it would work out just fine.

Again, Eion got in the water and worked hard. There were lots of little boys who were much better swimmers but they put E down in a lane with a slower girl. He didn't seem to mind and wasn't slowing anyone up. For sure he rested on the lane lines as practice wore on, but really, I can't swim for an hour. All those former swimmers and tri-athletes aside, getting in and grinding out sixty minutes is tough.

So imagine my surprise when he told me after getting dressed that he was never coming back and never swimming again. WTF?

After a bit of digging, I found out that all the boys were mocking him in the locker room, telling him he sucked and piling on calling him names like Pee-in. (Rhymes with Eion, get it?) To make matters worse, I know all these kids. I had just spent the hour talking with their mothers, many of whom I spend the entire summer with at the Club pool.

Not that there is much to do about it. I reassured him that they lacked manners and should recognise that of course you were slower, you hadn't been in the pool in seven months while they had been swimming 4 days a week (or more!) He decided to try again on Monday, with my assurances he could quit if it doesn't get better.

But besides that, what am I supposed to do? My first thought is let him tell them to f*ck off, but I highly doubt that introducing profanity would endear me to the other Moms. I can tell the coach, who will tell them to stop, and they will all remember it and think Eion is a tattletale baby. I don't know specifically which children were the aggressors, meaning talking to the mothers is right out. Not that I would anyway. As painful as the process might be, he has to fight some of his own fights. Using Mom as a human shield is unlikely to gain him pool cred. For now, I'll be on standby to clean up any bruised egos.


  1. If there's a male coach/parent who could accompany them into the locker room after practice, that would likely shut that behavior down... just as a thought. Poor E!! That is REALLY horrible.

    1. We're just planning to go home wet and skip the changing room all together. Which is a shitty compromise but will work.

  2. Boo. There's nothing I dislike more than a mean kid. I think you are right in removing him from the situation, but I wouldn't hesitate telling the coach either. Sadly, bullies tend to come from families where someone (even if they are nice country club folk) demeans or belittles the child.

    1. I did tell Marcia this morning and she was all over it. She's determined to get to the bottom of it and make it stop. ;) And you know me well enough to know this, but I didn't mean to imply the RCC kids were less likely to be mean but meant that I knew the kids and their mothers. More a statement that these were not a group of strangers. We'll hope for a better day Monday.

  3. I'm glad to hear he'll be back Monday. Way to get back up again, Eion!

    We skip the changing room there altogether. I hold up the "towel shield" right there on the bleachers for the boys to wiggle & jiggle into their dry clothes (one at a time) in "privacy." I'm none too keen on sending young boys into male restrooms (actually I refuse to), and J has always been wary of that particular bathroom. I mentioned the situation to J, and he didn't know about it. When I asked if he knew Eion? He said, "Yeah. That's the kid who is really good at Sumo wrestling." ?? I'm thinking the GoFest this past October? :)