Thursday was just a day to regain a relaxed body before tomorrow. School was school; the teachers thankfully did not assign lots of homework. I was able to finish it between or during the next class. Having one less thing to think about before Finals, will be awesome.
Practice was just a long cooldown. We only did about eight hundred yards and then Coach was calling us to exit the pool. ‘Awesome!’
Sitting in our normal stretching area, “everyone should be proud of the effort they did on Wednsday. Seeing as this is our first year of having a JV swim team, I would like to say that everyone on the JV team had best times.”
‘That’s impressive,’ clapping for the JV swimmers. ‘They are the lower lanes I always talk about.’
“This year we had a total of ten varsity swimmer make it into Finals. Six of those people have successfully placed well enough to be swimming individual events.”
Again a round of applause…
“Tom: the fifty freestyle, placed fifteenth. I would like to add this is his first year making it back. Congratulations. Also Steven, in the one hundred backstroke placed
sixteenth. You two have impressed me. John and Kevin will be joining Tom and Steven for their one relay,” the applause quickly died down as Coach turned to us. “Then those four have made it back in all their races, and will have to add two relays on top of their three individual events. Let’s all wish them luck,” Coach started it off with a slow clap.
“Good luck. You are going to need it,” Michael from JV called out. The rest of the team laughed and clapped along with coach.
“Lastly. Let’s give a big round of applause to our two coaching assistants,” the loudest clap possible erupted from the team, “without these two young ladies I would have
been more overwhelmed, and would be in a worse mood. Thank you, you two.” Coach said that last part directly to Jenny and Brit. They both nodded but were probably too embarressed
to actually speak.
“Okay. Get out of here! …George,” Coach grabbed my shoulder making me stop, “stay behind. We need to discuss things. You all go on ahead.”
“We will wait out front for you, George,” Ken and Matthew called out as they headed to the locker room.
“So, I am assuming you discovered what you did wrong on Wednesday?” Coach had pulled me to the bleachers so that we could sit as we talked.
“Yeah. I was focused, but I was too focused. I didn’t realize that could happen.”
“Oh. It is definately a possiblity. I could see it before your race. Also the fact that you were too distracted to come talk to me before the race. I have to admit, you did better that I thought you would.” Coach placed a hand on my shoulder, “even though, it seems like you didn’t succeed you should still feel quite accomplished,” then he let his hand drop off.
“I don’t feel like I accomplished anything. You gave me all the tools to be great and I screwed it all up,” frustration was coming through. I guess I didn’t actually accept my mistake as much as I thought.
“Think of it this way. You still have the chance to use all the knowledge and gains I’ve given you, tomorrow. Also that you were able stay in the top three, for yes, swimming a terrible race. You have the potential to be first tomorrow; only if you swim it correctly. Race against yourself; no one else matters.”
“Roger that, Coach,” Coach always knows what I need to hear.
“Now get going. I’ve got to go pick up my daughter,” Coach said getting up and heading to his office.
Finally out of the locker rooms. ‘Hopefully Dad did not leave without me.’ I ran straight into Jenny. Grabbing her arm before she fell backwards, “Oh sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going. You good?”
Jenny regaining her balance, “No problem George.”
Once I knew she was good I let go. Scanning, “Do you see my Dad’s truck?”
“Your Dad said he would take Ken and Matthew home. He dropped off your jeep for you,” she said as she helped turn my head towards where the jeep was parked.
“Sweet. Thanks Jenny. See you tomorrow,” I step by her and head off to the jeep. After I throw my bag into the backseat and I open my driver side door, I see Jenny standing there in front of the jeep. “You need something?” She doesn’t answer, but instead instinctively she walks to the passenger door and waits for me to unlock it. ‘I guess she needs a ride.’ I unlock her door and climb into my seat as she too sits in hers.
“I’m just assuming I am taking you home?”
“Yeah. Oh. Your Dad told me he would text you and let you know. If it’s a problem I can…” Jenny began to sit up preparing to exit the vehicle.
“You’re good. Just chill,” I push her back against the seat, “Buckle up. Let’s go.” I pull out of the parking lots and off to Jenny’s house once again.
“So…Can I ask you something?” Jenny spoke after a few minutes.
Thankfully it was not going to be another silent drive, “Sure. What’s up?”
“Why did you ignore and brush me off at the meet? It was so unlike you. Were you…like…mad at me?”
I could hear the hurt in her voice. ‘Wow. Good job George.’ “Not at all. I will admit I was a little too serious and yeah, now as I’m thinking about it I was a bit harsh, but it depends on the swimmer. I tend to enter a bubble…” she was looking at me like I was nuts. “Except for the guys, or on a relay, I will become completely
focused on swimming, and I won’t really acknowledge anyone around me. Remember you had to shake me to get my attention,” she nodded, “I was in my bubble.”
“Okay. I kind of understand. Tomorrow I won’t take it serious if you totally blow me off,” Jenny smiled, but I could still see hurt behind her smile.
“It is nothing personal. Tomorrow is going to be different than Wednesday; I am going to be focused but I am going to be more like my normal self and hang with guys,” now I understood what this terrible gut feeling was… “I feel the worst towards them. I was so focused on myself that I forgot that they also need support. I let them down, and I didn’t gain anything.”
“Don’t worry too much George. I’m sure your friends understand. What I understand about them; they do seem understanding in many different types of situations…like…,” Jenny cut herself off and obviously shut her mouth to not continue.
‘I wonder what she means by that?’ “Here we are. I probably know the way to your house by heart now, haha,” we chuckle together as she gathers her belongings. Once again
before heading to her door she comes to my window.
“I have a proposition for you,” Jenny crossed her arms in front of her body looking very determined.
“Okay. I’ll bite,” I smirk and lean out the window.
“More like a bet I guess. I bet you anything, you won’t place top two in all of your events tomorrow,” she tried but couldn’t hide her smile.
“Anything?…That is a dangerous offer…” I smile knowing what she was up to.
“Sure. Anything. But you have to be in the top two for all races, including relays.” Jenny stuck out her hand, “Deal?”
‘That’s a bit more difficult. Becuase relays are not just me, I have to depend on the guys.’ But I was not about to give up this chance, “You’re on!” I accepted the her hand.