Early morning workouts started this week, and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve had an average of 20 swimmers for these first two workouts.  I know some people think these early morning practices are dreadful, and some type of water-board torture, but I beg to differ.  I was thinking this morning that I started doing early morning workouts when I was in the 7th grade, and it seems utterly impossible that I’ve been doing these insane asylum workouts for about 50 years now.  So it’s hard for me to sympathize with the crying that some might assume goes along with alarm clocks going off at 4:35 AM?? 

For most of my life, I’ve listened to people say, “I have to go to work.”  You rarely hear someone say, “Hey, I get to go to work.”  Maybe it’s a shame that so many don’t enjoy their jobs that much, but I like to say that “I get to go to practice.”  Or tonight, “I get to go to weights.”  I believe wholeheartedly that this swimming activity that we’re in is a choice, and it sure makes a difference when we want to do it.  This is when a positive attitude makes a major difference.  It’s like if there was ever a day not to complain about the rain, it would’ve been yesterday.  We needed a solid rain in the worst way.  And I believe that most of these swimmers need to participate in a program like this.  Sure, practically all of them would admit that they always feel much better after practice than we do before, but I think there’s much more to it than an endorphin rush because of great exercise.  Many of the older kids need to be in the weight room tonight, myself included, so I like to say, “Hey, I get to go to weights tonight!”

I know the benefits of being on a structured swim team like Highbridge.  I’ve seen it; I’ve lived it.  It’s not easy, but I can say, without a doubt, that it is worth it.  And at the risk of sounding like old grandparents that would make fun of us and say, “When I was your age, I used to have to walk 6 miles to school, and sometimes in the rain and snow….,” here is another reason why I think these kids should be on a swim team.  When I was the age of those I’m now coaching, when we went out of town to a swim meet, or traveled anywhere, every motel had a shuffleboard court and an outdoor pool.  Tennis courts and volleyball nets were much more common, and if we couldn’t find anything else to do, suddenly a kickball game would break out.  We never stayed in the room; we were out playing shuffleboard or swimming in the pool.  Every school had a pegboard that we had to take these wooden handles and lift ourselves up to the top and back down, and a thick rope that went all the way to the ceiling that we had to climb.  The pool that I grew up swimming at had a trampoline that I jumped on literally for hours.  They also had a ping-pong table that we played on almost daily, which is why I continue to spank Quint every time I play him.  In the neighborhood, we constantly hide-and-go-seek, or kick the can, or capture the flag.  And no lie, I literally had to ride my bike everywhere I went, rain or shine.  We were constantly in motion.  But it is a different world now.  People sit to play games, and there are 6000 apps that make our lives so much easier.  We are all probably guilty of too much “screen time.” 

So when I say “thank you” for the efforts that you make to get to a morning workout, please know that there is much more behind thanking you for making it possible for getting your kids to practice.  When I say “thank you” for participating in going to an out-of-town swim meet, please know that there is much more behind going to a swim meet than the pursuit of some more best times.  Most swimmers won’t have best times this weekend, but that’s not the point of this first weekend.  I get to go to Kingsport this weekend!!

So this is another version of an “old fashioned” newsletter like I published last year.  It’s a long way to say, thanks for making it possible to have 20 teenagers at practice this morning.  I enjoy being surrounded by good people trying to do good things.  Take the Long Way Home!

Don’t forget, we return to a more normal schedule next week, but tonight for those who don’t do weights is 6:30-8:00.

It’s not a good idea, for those swimming in a meet this weekend, and even those who are not going, to miss a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday back-to-back, so I will run an early morning workout tomorrow morning (Friday, Oct. 14th) for anyone who would like to attend – any age.  Stretch 5:15, swim 5:30-6:45.  I’m sure people are thrilled about this, but we need it, and it’s the right thing to do.

For swim meets, please make sure that ALL swimmers have a solid, royal blue team suit.  You can get a discount on these by ordering them from Swimville in Louisville – just tell them you are on HA.  Or, Pannell Swim Shop probably has them, as well.  Normally, our caps are yellow on Fridays and Sundays and blue caps on Saturdays.  But since we’ve added some nice HA flag caps, and pink caps, we’ll change this up a bit.  For Kingsport, we’re sticking to the blue caps on Saturday, and we’ll break out the pink ones on Sunday.  For Saturday, I’ll also encourage those who have them to wear the HA football jerseys to always wear these on the Saturdays.  (We’ll work on putting another football jersey together very soon.)   Sunday will be any HA shirt.  I’ll always have all caps at the meets, if you need to buy them.  Blue and yellow caps are $10/each; flag and pink are $15/each. 

Happy Birthday today to Alex Smetanko.  Alex turns 16 today, so it looks like it’s permit time.

And it’s Lizzy Teater’s birthday Saturday, so Happy Birthday to these two swimmers.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 8th.  This is when I’ll host our 2nd annual “mock” meet.  This intrasquad meet will take place at Asbury during our regular practice hours.  This is when we broke out our jerseys last year, so we’ll wear them again at this meet.  More details about this later, but please mark your calendars now.