5 Ways Sports Changed my Life
I started swimming when I was 3 years old at our local YMCA. From the second my feet hit the water, I knew the sport of swimming was “home” to me. I loved it. I swam competitively throughout the years until I was 19 years old. Swimming was my sport. The morning practices at 4:30AM never bothered me (sorry Mom and Dad!). The sacrificing of time away from high school friends on Friday/Saturday nights never bothered me. Even being away for swim meets every weekend never bothered me. There was something about the swishing of the water in my ears. There was something about the time alone in the pool to think and reflect. There was something about the individual sport rush that really got me really excited. When you truly love doing something, there’s passion and gut there, so nothing can sway you from it.
I’m also a very competitive person by nature, so swimming spoke to me. In swimming there’s only the clock, it’s pretty cut and dry. You either do you best times or you don’t. There’s nothing in between. I was competitive every single time I stepped up on that block for a race. It was me and the clock. Who was going to win? I’m telling you, I LOVED the rush! It was everything.
My swimming career was pretty successful on a local scale. I never was Olympic material, that I know, I always knew that about myself. But I was good enough to be a Rhode Island State Record Holder, a Junior National Qualifier, a New England Swimming Champion in the 100-yard Breaststroke and Freestyle and a 4-time All-State Swimmer (to name a few). I’m very proud of those accolades because they definitely came with a lot of blood sweat and tears. I worked very hard for them, all of them.
Swimming changed my life, it made me WHO I AM today… this I know, like I know the sky is blue.
This past Friday night I was inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame. It was a true honor and one that I dearly hold close to my heart. It was a full circle moment for me because I had these people there for me:
- My mom and my dad. I can’t even begin to share how many hours they put into the sport of swimming for me. Early practices, long swim meet weekends, you name it… they did it. This award is just as much theirs as it is mine. They helped get me to where I wanted to be.
- My brothers and sister. The siblings are truly the unsung heroes. They’re at every meet by default. My sister was also a swimmer, so it made it easy on her, but my brothers weren’t. I just wanted to say a gigantic THANK YOU to them, too.
- My grandma came along, too. My 92 year old grandma. She didn’t miss a swim meet. She would cheer and scream and just get so nervous for me! I loved looking into the audience and seeing her there.
- My husband. He never knew me as a swimmer, he’s just heard me talk about swimming for years. When we got our kids involved in the sport, he suddenly became this SWIM DAD! He loves the sport and knows everything there is to know about it now. I loved having him by my side because I know he’s proud of me.
- My children. Perhaps the greatest for me the other night. It’s pretty cool to have your kids see YOU as someone else sometimes. My son Alex said to me, “Mom! I didn’t know you held the record in the 100 Free, too!” It was a full circle moment for me to be there, showing my kids what passion and love for something looks like.
Once each of the honorees receives their award, they’re asked to say a few words.
It got me thinking about swimming and what it’s brought to me in my life.
Five things come to mind as to how Swimming Changed my Life, it taught me:
These 5 Things have stayed with me throughout my entire life. Swimming impacted my world because I took the skills I learned from being a competitive swimmer and transferred them to my life. I look at my life now and I’m a dedicated, devoted and determined businesswoman and mom and wife. I’m competitive and want to excel and perform on the highest level I can get myself to. I’ve learned that there are bad days and good days, but you have to stay strong and stay attached to your goals. You can’t let setbacks literally set you back. You have to dig deep and keep going.
Dedication – I’m dedicated full line and sinker to the things in life that I’m passionate about and they have my full heart.
Determination – I was always the shortest on the pool deck. I would get up and see these swimmers that were always inches taller than me, but I always believed I could beat them. If you think you can, you can.
Devotion – I was devoted to swimming and in turn, it made me devoted to doing good in school and in anything else I tried. Devotion to something you love is a powerful thing as a child.
Drive – My drive. I was driven to do good in the pool, I had an inner rush. I had goals and dreams and wishes to accomplish. The drive you need to get these is grit and guts. Swimming gave me both.
Heart – You gotta have heart in everything you do, or you might as well not do it. You need to LOVE it.
That is what swimming brought to me. The drive, the guts and the heart to go after my dreams… as bold, as crazy or as wild as they sound because WHY NOT ME?
Swimming gave me the tools to go forth in my life and chase my dreams, it changed my life. This is why I was so driven to bring my children into sports, I wanted them to be given these tools. Regardless if it’s sports or music or acting or writing or whatever it is… it’s important to give your children an outlet to explore and see a side of themselves. It’s important for them to be part of something that will help teach them lessons about themselves.
Check out some more images from the night!