Last week was my son's swimming gala. It's a swimming competition actually. My son has never shown much interest to really swim seriously, and for him to want to enter the competition came as a surprise to me and my hubby. Each time my hubby takes him to the community swimming pool in our neighbourhood, instead of learning to swim, he prefers to play in the waters.
He had swimming lessons at school for the first 6 months of school (which has now being replaced with sports practices for the 2nd half of the year), but, as to whether he was seriously concentrating during his swimming lessons, I wouldn't know because we never had the opportunity to meet up with his swimming intructor. However, my hubby did say that he now knows how to swim since he started the lessons at school, though his swimming wasn't actually competition standard yet. But, compete he wanted to, in fact, insisting that my hubby signs the registration forms as we rush to work one day.
We never actually took him seriously. I never pushed him to practice one month prior to the swimming gala, thinking that he wasn't really serious, but, the week before the gala, he talked about nothing else but the gala. He kept saying that he wants to win a medal and trophy. Still, I did not take him seriously.
On Friday, he had an asthma attack. I thought, OK, he's not going for the gala on Saturday. Nope, I was 2nd time wrong. He kept insisting that he wants to go. Usually it would be quite difficult for him to swallow his antibiotics because of the taste and smell, but, that Friday night, he took his medicines with no qualms at all. He wanted to get well. He just had to get well for the gala. So eager was he that he said that he was getting up at 4.30am to get ready (the gala was to start at 7.30am). Still, I had my doubts.
Come Saturday morning, we got ready for the gala. My son had registered for, not one event, but TWO events - freestyle kicking and 50m freestyle! As any parent would be, I gave him my full support and cheered for him. We both did, my hubby and I. He got last out of 4 swimmers in the first event - freestyle kicking. We did not think much. So, OK, he wasn't as fast as the other kids. That's OK. He tried and he got to the finishing line with no problems. That's what's important. He finished the race.
Come the 2nd event, here's when you expect the unexpected. His teacher said that if you think you can't finish the race, then that's OK. Stop, and hang on to the rope between the lane (sorry, I am no swimmer, so I don't know the correct term for it), and the lifeguard will come and get you. You know what that means? The teacher just gave my son an escape clause. Finish only if you can.
My son is one child who will try his best to finish something he started, especially with my coaching, and I would normally psyche him up days prior to any event. Remember his kindergarten concert where he was to give the opening speech? Also, he knows that I will not be very happy if he doesn't finish what he started on, but, the minute you tell him that it's OK if he can't, he will immediately jump at the opportunity! LOL! Gheeze! An opportunist! LOL! *grin*
Not to blame the teacher so much, but, that was exactly what my son did. He stopped midway when he saw that he was going to be last again in the 2nd event. Err.....not only did he stopped midway, he started crying in full view of all the other parents! *blush*
I was not expecting him to win first place, not that I am putting my son down, I wouldn't, as a parent, but, more because he did not have enough practice to compete. But, what was so unexpected was for him to cry in the middle of the pool! Many would think that he was just being a spoilt and pampered brat. But, in defence of my son, when I asked him later why he stopped and cried, he said that he wanted to win so much, but when he saw that he was last again, it broke his momentum and spirit, and he gave up. He saw no point in finishing the race anymore.
We had a tough time explaining and lecturing him all day that day the importance of finishing a race, no matter how late you are and how long it will take. We, in fact, managed to catch one of the races where this one boy finished last more than 1 minute after the last one before him finished, but, the crowd cheered him on to the finishing line. We kept giving him the example of that boy to make him understand.
We were initially upset with him for not finishing the race, and to top it, he cried publicly. But, later in the day, when we calmed down a little bit, my hubby and I, we both agreed, that we are actually proud of him of the fact that at least he has the spirit to want to join a competition on his own initiative. We never told him nor pushed him to do it. He wanted so much to join the gala, only we did not take him seriously. That was my regret. If I had actually taken him seriously, and pushed him to practice, he would probably have at least made good timing, and wouldn't probably be last. PROBABLY. A lesson learnt. Never take your child's interest for granted.
My hubby's taking him to the pool tommorow. We are starting early. LOL!