I remember now. It was Cecilia’s swim counselor who suggested she try out for the Hurricanes.Devonwas Liz’s summer gig. During the winter she was an assistant coach at the Y. Liz came to our pool a few days before Cecilia had her try out with Tom. Taught her how to do a flip-turn. Came easily to Cecilia, a hell of a lot easier than it did to her old man when she tried to teach him two years later. My daughter got a good laugh out of that one.
On the big day the four of us—Cecilia, Maxine, her then twelve year-old big sister her mom and I—arrived at the Y with time to spare. We’d been there before, of course. It was the only place to swim during the winter unless you were willing to truck out to Gurney’s in Montauk. Even though Liz had said she was sure Cecilia would make the team, we were nervous. Met Tom; imposingly tall athletic-looking guy in his early thirties. Pre-maturely bald, he had one tattoo around his calf and, as we’d learn, another one just below his waist. Gave a big smile, which went a long way to helping us relax. Cecilia went in the water. The whole thing only took 15 minutes or so. Love to have her on the team, Tom said.
We, I mean C, is in her third season now. Even though she was a late starter, her athleticism (courtesy of Sandra) and her drive (from me) have taken her a long way. She’s one of the better back-strokers in the State and no slouch in butterfly or freestyle either. Breaststroke is her Achilles Heel. She just can’t seem to get it, particularly the frog kick. Always points her toes. Says she learned it in gymnastics.
In the stands behind me a group of parents is screaming at the top of their lungs as the girls close in on the finish line. One heavy-set buxom gal in her mid-forties sounds practically hysterical as she shouts “KIIIICK. Tiffany, KICK.” Her face is as bright red as her fingernails. I swear she’s going to pop a blood vessel. “Kick, Tiffany. KIIIIICK.”
Her, and her gang, are wearing Sachem Swim Club T-shirts. The riff on the back goes something like this:
S-Strive to be all you can be.
A-Achieve is what you can do if you strive (see above).
C-Commitment is what it takes to achieve (see directly above).
H- Hard. Of course it’s hard. Keep striving (see top).
E- Everyone pulls together, so we can achieve (Did we say Achieve?).
M- Maximum effort is what we call commitment (the last, promise).
“Go Cecilia. GOOOOOOOO.” I look to my left. It’s Sandra. Her face is almost as flushed as the lady from Sachem. Born and raised in the heart of oldEurope, my wife is poised, attractive and eminently presentable in that casual Continental way (I love her). I hear a deeper voice. “Go C. Go.” 5 yards left. The voice comes again, much louder this time, evidently trying to outshout the Sachems. It’s me. “Go C. GOOOOOOO.”
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