Here are ten things I’ve learned this year through running a Special Olympics Swim Team:
1. Simon Says is easily the funniest game on the face of the planet.
“Simon Says: look as cheerful as an awesome possum!”
2. Camp songs are really fun in the pool (and a super good way to kill time if you’re waiting for someone).
3. Behaviours are more difficult to stop in a pool and pool decks are really hard (but, the warm pool is generally a good calming tool).
4. Running on the deck is going to happen.
5. Asking the Athletes to “cover their ears if you can hear me” is mostly just confusing for everyone. Stick with touching your head.
6. What Time Is It Mister Wolf, is much more confusing than you’d think.
“What time is it Mister Wolf”
“Freeze, you’re the wolf so they ask you”
“Why am I even a wolf. Wolves don’t swim. I’m gunna be a SHARK”
7. Dedicated volunteers are hard to come by but, when you do find them, they are the best people on earth.
8. Swim meets are pure chaos but seeing someone get their ribbon at the end makes every second of craziness worth it.
9. I am nothing if not adaptable.
10. Getting all of the Athletes to sit on the pool deck with their feet in the water while their coaches stand a few feet away in the pool and having the Athletes splash their coaches is: a) hilarious and b) a really good way to practice kicking.
And an extra special #11:
11. I have the best Athletes/Caregivers and Coaches ever.
I’ve had the greatest time taking over my local Special Olympics Swim Team this season and it has been a blast. We’ve definitely had our rough patches but, I’ve learned from those and I’m excited to have an even better program in place for next year!