Have I talked much about my illustrious high school swimming career?
Oh, I haven't? Okay, got it. It went like this: I swam my freshman year of high school because up until that point in my life I had done only two sports, competitive swimming from ages 9 to 11 and figure roller skating from ages 11 until my junior year. Because most high schools don't have figure roller skating teams, I knew that if I wanted to earn a letterman's jacket, swimming was my best shot.
The problem was, I wasn't all that good.
Or let me clarify: I wasn't all that fast.
When I swam as a kid, I was pretty good for my 9-to-10-year-old age bracket. I managed to snag a number of ribbons and make qualifying times allowing me to claim AAA status. But when I turned 11, all the times you needed to stay in AAA dropped by a few seconds in every event, and that was the beginning of my swimming demise.
I had peaked at age 10.
So by the time I decided to turn out for high school swimming, developmentally, I was still swimming at an 10-year-old level, and it never really changed.
Sure, I had nice, competent strokes. I even swam 100-yard butterfly at nearly every school meet. But placing in the top three happened only a handful of times (and by 'handful' I actually mean 'once' I placed third.)
In high school sports, you typically have to earn enough points to be awarded a coveted letter. I came no where near the required mark, but my coach, Mrs. Pringle, pulled me aside one day and said because of my positive attitude and work ethic, she had decided to award me a letter afterall.
I probably wore my Cascade High School letterman's jacket with more pride than any other athlete in the history of that school. I also never swam another high school meet.
Truth be told, I wasn't sure if that positive attitude was enough to get me another three bars on my jacket.
Essentially, I went out on top.
And I think that's my life lesson for today: if you're not that good at something, be really positive about it and maybe someone will give you something you didn't technically deserve.
And if they do, by all means, wear that jacket with pride.