Our daughter, Katelynn, just completed her final season as a Cedar Creek Stingray. This is an ending to an almost fourteen year journey that began with a timid five year old competing in her first ever race in the 25 free in this pool that was once an all chlorine pool. I did not know whether to smile or sob tonight but my heart took over and I did a little of both. I wish I could say it was her best race ever, but the truth is it wasn't even close. She has struggled through injury and illness so the beauty for me is that she still loves swimming for this team so much that she does anything to be the best FOR the team.
If you are a parent of a younger child wondering if there are better ways to spend your summer mornings, June evenings and your money, the answer is absolutely not! Not only will swimming change your child, it will also profoundly impact your family in the best ways possible.
Here are just a few jewels Richard, our girls and me learned along the way with our beloved Stingrays:
1. Passion in mandatory if you are to get the most out of this sport.
2. Winning isn't everything. Really, it's not.
3. Every coach has something to teach you.
4. Your teammates are your everything. They are your companions in this whirlwind and sometimes they wear very different caps. Some will be good, bad and everything in between but cherish them because you'll learn from them too.
Richard and I are privileged to have been Stingrays parents, and with Sarah coming through, we get to hold on to that title for a few more years. To our fellow swim parents, especially those just starting out, the meets are hectic but enjoy every race, every moment and every sleep deprived, rained out Thursday night. They go so fast! As Katelynn continues on to Dalton State College to pursue her nursing degree, her swim team days are over, but she will take with her a lifetime of memories thanks to this wonderful organization and all of the families with which we've had the honor of sharing our summers.
Becky and Richard Thomas
Katelynn (18) and Sarah (14)