September 24, 2013
The other night, we took my Mom out for dinner for her birthday. My sister, Mom and I went for manicures and then waited at the bar of the restaurant for the rest of our crew to show up. We got in a conversation and somehow, my volunteer position as the President of my daughters’ swim club came up.
“Yeah, you should quit that,” my sister said. ”Little Man is little and he needs you.”
“He gets me,” I protested. “It’s a lot of work, but I do it at home and it’s not like Little Man is being neglected.”
It wasn’t the comment that bothered me, as much as the fact that my Mom and sister had clearly had discussions about how my volunteer position should be eliminated. This is my third year as Co-President along with Mr. BBM of a thriving USA swimming club. In one year, we moved up almost 400 spots nationally. We added 15 more kids to our roster this year and had to turn many away because we simply don’t have the lane space. This past summer, we had enough swimmers in attendance at Junior Olympics to have relays in three age groups. And the relays did well. Twelve of our girls came home with medals; two of our swimmers made the Zones team. In the relatively short time of our tenure, we made major changes to our staff, applied for and received 501c3 status in less than six weeks (which our accountant says is virtually unheard of), and frankly, I’m just getting started.
What bothered me is that it was implied that because there’s no payment for what I do, there’s no value. I disagree.
Yes, I sometimes complain about all the work because there is a LOT. OF. WORK. I spend a minimum of 40 hours per week updating our website, sending out emails, sending in meet entries, and doing things to make our club a better place to swim. I’m tireless in my efforts; and yes, I sometimes get very frustrated with circumstances and people. Because OH. MY. GOD. can people be a pain in the butt sometimes.
But when I’m at the pool, and I see our coaching staff working together so well, and I see our swimmers achieving things they wrote on their goal sheets at the beginning of the year, it makes it all worth it. Every. Single. Moment.
Selfishly, I want this club to be the most amazing place to swim in a 100 mile radius for my kids. I want college coaches to take notice of the swimmers we’re churning out. I’ll stop at nothing to make it that way. But the pay-off is that this year, we have 99 swimmers that are benefiting from our amazing coaches. These 99 kids are all “my kids” in so many ways. Their successes and achievements are my successes and achievements. And just because there’s no payment for what I do doesn’t mean that it’s useless or lacking value. I do what I do because it’s a labor of love.
And it’s worth it. . . for my kids and for every other kid who swims at our club.