The other night the family gathered for Happy Hour. It was raining, so we congregated in the den for drinks and nibbles. As the evening came to a close I was reminded that the Olympic Swimming Trials were being televised.
My granddaughter, the 12 year old, was excited to watch, my son, the 43 year old, not so much…yawn. What a difference 30 plus years has made. When he was 12 his world revolved around swimming, thus so did ours. When he was 12 he held the number one time in the butterfly in the USA. When he was 12 his goal was to be an Olympic swimmer. Swimming was his life. He swam in meets all over the country. When he was 15 the ‘Ole Buckeye took him to Austin, Texas, to see the 1988 Olympic Trials. Instead of soccer idols that my granddaughter now has, his idols swam. At that time he looked up to Matt Bondi. Through the sport he made lifetime friends. He learned many life lessons.
I have been purging, and as I have gone through old tapes and boxes I have been reacquainted with his one time dreams, his one time goals. I remember how he wanted and needed the goggles, sweats, bags, suits, caps, and “pins”. I remember how he ate incessantly. I remember planning our travel and vacations, and even anniversaries around his swim meets. I remember the fun and friendships, the successes and disappointments. I remember it all.
What truly surprises me is that his memories are so very different.
I guess I am writing this to try to understand. As a youngster he had amazing goals and dreams. He had talent and drive. What changed and why does he lack any enthusiasm for the sport he once loved?
Obviously life has moved on. He continues to have goals and dreams. He continues to excel in most everything that he does. I just find it hard to understand the jaded feelings he has for the sport and the experience.
I can’t put my finger on when it changed, although I have an idea. What I don’t understand now, is his complete lack of interest in the sport at this level at this time. Just a Ho, Hum.
Luckily the 12 year old has enjoyed the coverage. Luckily she has come to realize the significance of the sport and the swimmers. Fortunately she admires the talent of Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Anthony Ervin (the oldest), and Katie Ledecky, the new marvel.
The “Ole Buckeye and I enjoyed watching and look forward to Rio. I love the Olympics!
I have also made a decision. I will take some time over the next few weeks to pull out the swimming memories for the grand girls to see. They have been stored away all these years, but now need to be shared.
I will reminisce and remember, they will look and see. Then I will need to make the ultimate decision…do I repack the memories, or discard them. Do I hold on to them for someone else to purge in the future? Do I document and discard?
I guess that decision will be made when I know their reaction, when I determine their interest, when I am assured that there is at least some small impact. Hopefully they will gather a better understanding of who their dad was at their age and what he was able to accomplish. I tell myself that that is the reason I held on to his past. Hopefully having saved the memories will accomplish some of what I had hoped.
At that point it will be an interesting experience discovering my own reaction.
Will I let go?