From Sept. 22 to Feb. 22, I will be spending, at a minimum, 22 hours a week staring at a black line, and another three hours picking heavy things up and putting them down. Yes, swim season is right around the corner.
I won’t lie—I’ve had a few friends ask if I’m quitting swimming, and I’ve considered it.
I could enjoy my senior year in a way which I have never experienced college before. My hair might actually be healthy, I wouldn’t smell like chlorine all the time and I would have 25 more hours of free time. There are so many possibilities. But I don’t want that life.
There will be some things in your life that you will have the option to back down from. Not because you are quitting, but because you have exhausted yourself. It’s a perfectly viable, respectful option. There is no one more important than yourself, and you have to look out for number one at the end of the day.
But when faced with this option, if you choose to stay, then make it all or nothing. You may not be perfect. You may fail or not reach your goal. But be your best all the time. You cannot give it 100 percent one week, and 45 percent the next.
Our team meeting this past week struck a few chords with me, in particular: “Always try to be your best in what you are doing.”
It’s simple–it’s a common mantra. It’s even cliché. But after hearing it for the thousandth time, it finally stuck with me.
Every year I have improved at championships, but I have never reached my full potential. There are those extra things in practice that I could have done, that I haven’t. I could focus on practice, instead of thinking two steps down the road of what else I need to do.
I could easily retire from swimming, and enjoy my senior year in various bars throughout Cleveland. I could travel to Florida without having flashbacks of the B.U.S. set.
But that’s not me. The chlorine is a part of me. The black line speaks to my soul. I thrive on the competition.
Although none of this may be evident at first glance, and some may even call me apathetic, it’s a clever guise I live under.
It’s all or nothing for me. It’s making the most of my potential in my last year of competitive swimming.
So, this is my warning to the OAC that I’m all in. It’s a promise to my team that I’m all in.
And Coach Mark? Challenge accepted.