Thursday, July 23, 2009

Waterlogged (The Dramatic Conclusion)

Ain't That Unusual - Goo Goo Dolls (mp3)
Drums of Death - Noel Gallagher (w/UNKLE + Mike D) (mp3)

Continued from Tuesday, my additional thoughts about swim meets, fueled by sun, sand, and plentiful suds...


I am not a complete looks snob. When one looks like me, one cannot afford to be a complete looks snob.

That said, I enjoy eye candy as much as the next walking penis, and one of the ways I entertain myself (no... not like that) in any setting is to scope around and locate all potential eye candy in a given environment. It works very much like the Terminator as he's walking through that bar looking for Sarah Connor. I have a little red cross-hair that lands on particular people, and then a database pulls up their estimated measurements, age, marital status, and general emotional stability levels. Granted, my database and cross-hair works only slightly better than Ron Weasley's broken wand, so it's not "dead-on balls accurate," but at this point I'm just trying to cram as many different movie references into this paragraph as I can.

My point is, eye candy at swim meets is painfully, terribly disappointingly awful.

Chattanooga brags about all of its outdoorsy and exercise-y opportunities, but we're apparently quite awful at taking advantage of them, having recently been dubbed the Least Fit City in America. Sure, these kinds of rankings aren't worth too much, but it's tough to argue that we're a paragon of low body fat and cardiovascular conditioning at whose cracked and crumbling waterfront the rest of America should worship.

Still, in a land of the least fit and more obese, you'd think that cougars and lionesses would be at their best and most promising in the area of kid sports (PLEASE NOTE: Once in a while I'll acknowledge an attractive male in the name of equality). You'd think that kids who are involved in physical activity at a high level of competition would have parents who were most attentive to being physically conditioned and looking their best. Unfortunately, when it comes to swimming, this does not hold true. Soccer and baseball fall much closer to expectation in this area, although it's still not nearly as rewarding as it should be.

I recently made this observation to a friend who's always been fairly active in the sports realm, and he offered this theory: "Swimming is one of the few sports where parents can't participate in helping their kid improve."

Basically, his point was, soccer parents and softball parents and football parents tend to go outside with their kids and play with them. They practice with them. The kind of parent/kid activity that burns calories. Swimming parents? Not so much. Swimming parents grab the fold-out chair, the latest Jackie Collins novel and a Ding Dong and sit back while their kids swim laps. This does not bode well for the physique of a swimming parent. Thus, the horrific dearth of anyone worth a double-take at swim meets.


According to every psychological test I've ever taken, I'm an extrovert. And not just barely. I'm, like, a ragin' extrovert to the point that I'm sure the DSM II has several diagnoses for the deep-seeded and underlying problems that would explain my extremism.

Yet, at my daughters' swim meets, I'm nothing short of hermit-like. When I'm not dealing directly with the girls or cheering them on for the five minutes out of three hours they're actually competing, I plop into my chair and read on my book or magazine. Or I annoy friends with text messages. When other nice parents attempt to engage me in friendly banter, I'm sure I come across as seeming polite but not terribly interested, the kind of conversation where I'm not really asking any questions or doing anything to extend the conversation. Inevitably they withdraw and do not attempt to rekindle said conversation at the next meet.

Because my behavior in this realm seems particularly contradictory, I've tried to figure out why. Here's my best guess: I'm at my weakest, socially speaking, when my primary role in said environment is that of The Parent. If I'm The Husband, or The Educator, or The Immature Party Guy, I can mostly loosen up and find someone or several someones with whom to converse, and the conversations can be plenty enjoyable. But if I'm The Parent, I don't generally enjoy where those conversations will go.

I don't generally enjoy talking at length about my children. I don't generally enjoy listening to other people talk at length about their children. Conversations about my children, about how smart they are, or about their interests, or about their cutesy little habits or foibles, especially around other people who are engaging in a sort of quid pro quo "anything your child can do my child can do better" dialogue, just feels forced and depressing.

I would like to think that the very last measure of any significance in being a parent is how much said parent waxes glowing about their children. In fact, I tend to believe there's an inverse correlation. The more someone talks and talks and talks about the awesomeness or adorable-ness of their kids, the less awesome and adorable those kids probably are. Or, maybe more importantly, the less anyone with ears and a brain wants to talk to those parents.

Maybe that's just me. Maybe that's a misguided and warped way to see parental pride. But at least it helps make sense of why I tend to crawl into my own little hole at a swim meet. Well, this and the fact that they're pretty damned unattractive.



troutking said...

1. Walking penises has to be your fantasy football team name this season.

2. There is a lot of evidence to support your inverse proportionality theory regarding parent praise effusiveness and child praise deservedness.

Ryan said...

Does a track exist that has the Drums of Death without the vocals of Mike D? If so, could you post it or send it to me?

Billy said...

Hey Ryan - If a "DoD w/o Mike D" exists, it's beyond my knowledge and ownership. Sorry!