Cheer for the other team

On Friday I was at the Washington State Swim and Dive Championships, at the Weyerhauser Pool in Federal Way, with our small town swim team. The girls did a great job and every race that they’d qualified for at districts, they also qualified for finals. None in the top eight, but all in the top 16.

The parents and our young women were excited and delighted. The pool is Olympic size with international flags hanging in two parallel rows along the roof. I love the flags and was admiring them. My daughter and I went to that pool for the first time when she was 8, for the National Junior Synchronized Swimming Competition. We volunteered to help at the competition.

Hearing the news of more bombs and shootings later in the day, I felt terribly sad. But there is hope in peoples’ kindness: in the culture of girls’ high school swimming each team does a cheer at the start of the meet. And the tradition is to do a cheer for the other team.

Finals started with cheers before the National Anthem. I asked my daughter if the cheers were for the other team and she said, “No, not at the State Competition.”

I am not cheering for anyone who has committed violence. But I am cheering for the voices of tolerance and love and peace and refusal to generalize hate on all sides. I hope we can all remember to cheer for the other team.

Mozart Requiem: Confutatis lacrimosa

Swim fast

This is for Photrablogger’s Mundane Monday Challenge #31. I shot this at the senior swim meet in our 1950s pool. The windows are covered so that everyone can see. The team members each have a secret sister for the meet and deliver posters and gifts at school. This was shot with a zoom lens, across the pool, back lit by the afternoon sun…..

Red, blue, gold

This is for Photrablogger’s Mundane Monday Challenge #26: this is not actually the golden hour but it’s still golden, with silhouettes. This is our swim team at the end of the meet on Thursday, sun coming through the paper over the windows, the team red capes with the coach wearing one and the aqua above and below….. no retouch at all.

Lift blur

This is for the daily post photo challenge “Blur”. I took this photo at the National Junior Synchronized Swimming Competition in 2009. This is a team of 8 practicing before the final competition. Six girls are under water doing the lift and the girl doing the flip is lifted to launch into a flip off of the other girl’s shoulders. My daughter did synchronized swimming from age 7 to age 14. She said that they kicked each other all the time, because the tighter the formation, the higher the score. Synchronized swimming has Olympic scoring right from the beginner stage. These Juniors score in the 6.0 to 8.0 range.

I photographed with a zoom lens and an electronic camera. Because of the delay, at first I mostly had pictures of disturbed water. It took quite a bit of practice to be able to anticipate and time the shot.


I am writing this for both Weird Image Wednesday and for Ronovan’s BeWoW.. Be Wonderful Wednesday. The image is from 2010 from a synchronized swim meet in Washington State. The girls do the lift from under water, and they are not allowed to touch bottom. They do the lift with their swimming skills. This team is very young and probably novices, so the girls lifting have their heads out of the water. As they get older, stronger and more skilled, the lifters would do all the lifting from under the water, holding their breath. I have seen girls lifted out to their feet in more experienced teams. Everyone has to be in the right position under the water and the person lifted has to have the core strength to stay straight or stay in their split during the lift.

Isn’t that wonderful and amazing?

Exercise the wanting self

Achy this morning

Busy on Monday
Virus on Tuesday
Throwing up and
cancelled clinic
Beloved visitors all week
Worked, nauseated Wednesday
Thursday almost better
Evening festive
But up 1 to 4 am
with someone way too sick
phone to specialists
six times
finally I tell her
if she is not transferred
I think she will die
She chooses to go
Slightly groggy clinic Friday
Hard to type

Achy on Saturday

I make myself
go to the pool
to swim laps
I know
it will help

In the water
the wanting self
is noisy
I want goggles
I am wearing a mask
It leaks
Why haven’t I gotten goggles
I deserve them
Moratorium on spending
and haven’t had time
and I want that
beginner yoga kit
and other things

The wanting self
makes me tired
and it is silly
to want so much
Stymied, the wanting self
goes on about work
I am on lap number twelve
I think
I am uncomfortable
with Mr. J in clinic
who keeps wanting
more pain medicine
and complains about
my boundaries
In the water
I realize
that he is no more comfortable with me
than I with him
I am pleased
to admit that
and can refer him
to a pain clinic
The lady next to me
has a powerful breast stroke
long deep glide
under the water
The wanting self
wants to swim like her
Why don’t I exercise more often?
I am lazy
Maybe I will exercise
before my first cup of tea
every morning
The wanting self
builds castles in the water
that wash away
I wonder if the wanting self
builds up
is stored
in my muscles
and exercise
the wanting self
That would explain
better than anything
I know of
and why exercise
is the best treatment
and maybe that is why
and exorcise
are so close
I picture all our
wanting selves
sloshing around the pool
they dissipate
Does chlorine
inhibit their return
to our bodies?
We climb sleek
from the pool
and shower

I am less achy
still tired
but my muscles feel
blood flow
has returned

I must exercise
more often
and exorcise
the wanting self