beloved coach of the kids Y swim team was leaving. It felt pretty devastating at the time but as often happens, the change worked out well for my family.Around this time last year, we learned the awful news that the
After the coach left, my oldest decided it was time to leave the Y and find a new team. This precipitated change for the whole family. My oldest and youngest — the more committed swimmers — decided to join an intense team out of University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the twins joined a less intense team but one that turned out to be more focused than the Y team.
It was an interesting fall for all of them and for my husband and me as well. The kids had all been part of the same winter swim team for nearly 10 years so this was a major shift for the family.
Maggie and Jonah settled in easily at the intense club. They both liked it right away and quickly made new friends. It was hard work. Maggie practiced every day, sometimes twice a day, and Jonah practiced five days a week for several hours, but they both thrived. The new competitive atmosphere helped Maggie realize she wanted to swim in college, something she may not have decided at the old team.
It was hardest for Lilly. After the first couple of practices, she wanted to go back to the Y where it was easier and more comfortable. I forced her to stay with the new team, telling her she could leave after December if she was still unhappy. I hoped she would change her mind, and she did. She made great new friends and worked harder than she’d ever worked before. The new coach was tough but he believed in her, encouraged her and it paid off. She swam her best at the final meet of the season and, last week, earned the “Most Improved” award at the team awards ceremony.
Adam had an amazing year as well. He got faster, and grew much more confident as a swimmer. He’s also talking about possibly swimming in college. For a kid who wanted to quit every year, I’m amazed that he’s still swimming and working harder than ever.
So it’s been a huge year of change but one that has forced each of my kids to grow in a way I didn’t know possible. I’m still sad that we lost a great coach and that my kids are no longer on the same team, but it’s been an amazing experience for all of them. And for that, I am so grateful.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 15, Adam, 15, and Jonah, 11.