Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Swim Team

So I'm a little peeved today. I don't like to complain because nobody wants to listen to a complainer all the time and I feel kind of complainy lately, but I have to just release my frustration. This would be a day that I would've normally called my mom and bounce my frustration off of her, but I can't so you are my sounding board today. Thanks :)

So I have this deal with my kids that if they get their school work done and have a clean bedroom that we will go to the pool in the afternoon. Today they accomplished the bribe and we went and arrived at the pool at about 4:30. I sent my husband an email at work to let him know, so he could meet us there at about 5:15.

My kids had fun romping around in the pool, but then 5:00 rolled around and dozens of kids on swim team began to arrive. No big deal, I thought. In years past they rope off a good size portion of the pool (the portion without the lap lines) for those not participating in swim team. Well, apparently not this year. Some lady coach told everyone in the roped off section that we either had to get out or go by the steps, which is about a 125 square foot area adjacent to this coach lady's self-proclaimed swim instruction area. I did not enforce the rule on my children and let them continue swimming where I thought it was fair territory for them to swim. I thought if they were bothering the coach and her seven young swimmers, then she could tell my kids to move, which she did several times. (My kids weren't the only ones crossing the invisible line that we were supposed to stay behind.)

Anyway, the rest of the non-swimteamers (about 20 of us) seemed kind of peeved and confused at the situation. We all stood in our allotted cramped six square feet of personal swim space, equipped with large floats and small children cannon-balling into the small section of the pool, as we watched the children, tweens, and teens swim their noisy awkward laps. There was one older couple who caught my eye and expressed through facial expressions that they felt the situation seemed ridiculous. However, they were grandparents watching their grandchildren, who lived in the neighborhood, so they were not likely to put forth extra effort to make their opinion heard because this would not be a long term problem for them. A few other young mothers with their small children looked a little bothered too, but too nice to say anything because their small children seemed content playing on the stairs.

At the close of the swim team practice another woman came over and told everyone in the steps section that from now on the pool would be closed to anyone not on swim team from 5-6 PM Monday through Thursday. I said, "The whole summer?" and she very unapologetically nodded her head. Then I said, "That is not okay. This is the time we come to the pool as a family, and we would like to be able to swim here."

I could tell she did not want to continue the conversation with me and referred me to the "Swim Team Mom" who would be there tomorrow. Then, the coach lady came back over again and tried to convince us that we couldn't swim in the pool while the swim team practiced because it was for our "safety." She said, "When these kids get stronger with their strokes, they might whack your kids and we wouldn't want them to get hurt." It was a lame excuse and I could see she was just trying to get us out of her way in the name of "safety." Mind you, these kids she was referring to were between the ages of about four and six.  Unless they are injecting these kids with steroids, I doubt they would whack hard enough to cause any lasting damage. I have learned that kids have a natural way of staying out of each other's way in a pool.

Apparently my husband was thinking my same thoughts and spoke up and said, "Well, then let them get whacked. Our kids are tough and they'll learn to stay out of the way."

Not knowing how to respond to his comment, she proceeded to say, "Well, the reason these kids are here is to learn how to swim and be safe. We just want to be sure your kids are safe too."

I didn't quite get her comment because in order to be on the swim team you have to already know how to swim, but I told her that we've never been kicked out of the pool because of swim team practice for the six summers we've lived here. She didn't seem to believe me, but I assured her it was true.

Ugg, so I was bothered. I checked my neighborhood Covenants and Restrictions when I got home and it states that residents have the right to enjoy the amenities which I think is why it bothers me so much. I feel like my rights and liberties as a resident in my neighborhood are being infringed upon. I pay $700 a year for the neighborhood amenities. It's not a trivial amount. My husband works typical dad hours from 9-5. I believe a father should be able to swim with his children when he gets home from work and not just on weekends or when the sun goes down.

It also states that notwithstanding the right to use the ammenities, residents who pay a recreation fee for exclusive use of an amenity have the right to use it exclusively. So if the fees these families pay to have their children to be on swim team actually go to our Homeowners Association to have exclusive use of the pool during these hours, then I guess they have every right to say we can't swim there. That is the question I need to find the answer to tomorrow by calling the Property Management Company. It just seems to me that if they have exclusive use of the pool during these hours that the neighborhood residents should be informed about it through an HOA newsletter or signs at the pool. I've never read anything stating such.

However, I still don't think it is right to block off four weekday evenings from the hours of 5-6 PM for exclusive use by the swim team. It seems a bit excessive. I'll agree to Wednesday evenings when the pool is totally unavailable because they host swim meets from 5:45 PM to who knows when. I've heard swim meets lasting (I can hear the whistles and screaming from my house) until 10 PM in summers past. Insane. Also the swim team uses the pool from 8:30 - 9:30 in the morning M, T, F. So there are six hours a week blocked off for these kids to practice, plus four hours on Wednesday. Did I say insane? It's a stinkin' neighborhood swim team!

Sometimes I think America in general is a little obsessed with team sports, and not in tune enough with spending time as families. Why must families who seek to have a little weeknight quality time together in their neighborhood pool be kicked out in the name of sports practice?

The coach lady tried to tell me, "It's only one hour a day." I wasn't buying it. The pool is open 13 hours each day, Since my husband works normal business hours, the only other hours of the day we can go as a family on a weekday is from 6-9PM, since the swim team monopolizes the pool from 5-6. After 6 it gets a little chilly with the sun going down and late for the younger ones. Why can't they practice from 6-7 or 8-9 and let families with small children swim during the 5 o'clock hour? Or how about since they have over 100 kids on swim team, they break up the practices into two different time slots so that residents can have use of the pool at all times as well? What about teaching the principle of sharing?

I don't know. Maybe I'm getting worked up over nothing. I don't get strongly irritated about a lot, but this one was a kicker for me (no pun intended.) It just seems crazy to me. I'll let you know what I find out tomorrow.

To end the day on a cute note:

Ok, so it's not that cute, but it gives you an idea of what the pool looks like. Does a swim team really need more than 5 lanes to practice? By the way, the section that Emily and George are in is the section that we are not allowed to swim in during swim team practice that they use for seven 4-6 year olds.

I just read on the swim team website that they added an extra age bracket this year. So I am assuming each age bracket probably has it's own lane which might explain why the younger swim team members are encroaching upon our swim space.

Here's a some cuter pictures from the other day:

We went the park the other day and they have a fun fountain there. Have you ever tried to get seven squirmy kids to all look at the camera at the same time? I'm pretty sure it's impossible.

George loved the fountain. I should've put a bathing suit on him. I didn't think he would crawl right into it.

Poor Bradley got a splinter. Thank goodness I had a safety pin in my diaper bag. That thing was wedged in his foot pretty good.

Thanks for letting me release my frustration. You're such good listeners :)

1 comment:

  1. Blocking off the pool every day does seem a bit excessive! I would think they would have lessons two or three times a week, and then if the kids want to practice more often they could go to the pool with their families. At the very least, if they're going to do that then the residents need to be informed either through signs or the newsletter, or both.