Sigh. Some things never change.
I did other stuff like tennis and diving, and, um, you know, other stuff. But for me it was always about the swimming. Year-round, 1 or 2 leagues, from when I was 7 until I graduated high school. My senior year I swam before school (which started at 7:40) so I could get a workout in. Still dark outside, just me and my coach in the pool area. I don't know who was more dedicated, me or him. It worked, though. I kicked some ass at States in 500 free. And that time is still better than the pool record for 500 free at East Lyme High School.
See? Once a geek . . .
Oh? And the cannonball contest? I didn't participate, either. Not after Jacquie's boy said, "Come on, Aunt Ellie! Last time you made a splash as big as a whale!" No, I was the underwater judge. And Mom and Dad didn't even ask for my input. But they did award me a prize:
I lean much more toward Jacquie when it comes to organized sports (maybe it's something about being born in the year of the monkey?). I dabbled in them early on, then left the sports-team scene altogether to become a quarters champion in high school (actually I was never terribly good at quarters either, but I always had so much fun while playing).
So although I did not have a childhood bedroom full of trophies and medals (like Ellie probably did), I did take four first-place blue ribbons at the Emily Howland Elementary annual track and field day when I was in 3rd grade (or was it 2nd? or 4th?). I won more first-place ribbons than anyone that year. I'm pretty sure it was because I was about a foot taller than the majority of my classmates, and most of that length was in my gangly legs. This is a big advantage, especially when it comes to the high jump and the standing and running long jump. I crushed these three events. I think the fourth blue ribbon was for a relay event, so it was likely someone else's speed that landed that blue ribbon in my hand.
The only other first-place ribbon (thinking back I actually think it was a trophy!) I remember getting was one I shared with my mom, who actually was an Olympic hopeful for swimming back in the 1950s. It was a mother-daughter backstroke relay at the local neighborhood pool. Our only real competition was little Pammy Proctor and her mom. Pammy was a real brat who knew too well that she was a good swimmer, so it was such sweet success when my mom pulled out the win for us (thanks, mom!).
I'm (sadly?) satisfied with these few ribbons, I've never been especially competitive (except when it came to grades), but I do sometimes covet my oldest daughter's red second-place ribbon for pie eating. Now that's a sport I could do well in.