Friday, June 22, 2012

The Best Way to Compete

Connor and his swim team friends waiting to compete.


The boys enjoyed a play date with my friend Erin's girls.


Connor perched at the end of the swimming pool.  He stood ready to participate in yet another swim meet.  This one was different, bigger.  Junior swimmers from two other swim clubs were competing against his team.  The pool was teeming with swimmers, anxious parents, and active siblings.


At the last swim meet, Connor placed 5th and 6th.  For this race, Cooper gave his big brother a pre-race pep talk.  "Aim for 4th," he instructed.  And, so that became his brass ring.


The starter bleep rang and Connor dove into the water.  I watched his strokes, choppy but persistent.  With all the energy he could muster, he maneuvered down the lane and slapped his hand against the finishing wall.  He finished.  He placed 8th.  Out of 8.


I smiled at him as he tugged his saturated body out of the pool.  I braced myself for the reaction he could have for finishing last behind all his peers and competitors.


He glanced at me and beamed, "Mom, I finished four-seconds faster than last week."


I sat speechless, grateful for many things.  I loved the fact that he remained positive, but I was even more thankful that only person he really focused on was himself.  He didn't compare his finish time with his competitors.  His success and self worth was merely measured on his own performance and progress forward. 


How I'd love to mirror Connor's outlook.  How many times do I lose focus of my own "lane" and start comparing myself to the successes of others and then my own perceived "failures."  Shouldn't I adopt Connor's philosophy where I celebrate my own steps forward regardless of how that compares to the actions of anyone else?


Connor inspired me and taught me the best way to race.

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