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“Butterfly is like life, a beast, and ya gotta tackle it like life, head on, balls out, all or nothing!” Coach Jen says as she is giving me a pep talk before the conference meet right as we pull into the parking lot of the high school. “Now, I wanna see you go out there and kick butt!”
“Natural way with words……” between coughs. I’m not feeling too great today, I’m sick, and when I get sick, my body becomes an air cannon. I’m thinking it’s either this sign or the thousand yard butterfly practices I endured last week.
“Hey, show her some respect!” Nick says.
He’s a freshman, new to swimming, and doesn’t have the bond Jen and I share; after a day of ridiculously rude students, she enjoys joking around with me. It always puts a smile on her face.
A few events pass until it’s time for my major event, the 100 yards Butterfly, so I talk to Jen. “Bury the head, big arms!” Jen says. I repeat it rhythmically.
The announcer says, “Event 17, Men’s 100 yards Butterfly.”
“Remember, this is a Varsity event, so go kick ass. I know you can!”
I’m shocked that Jen just said this; it puts even more pressure on me.
So I race. I win my heat. I talk to Coach Jen and Coach Bob. Then I vomit.
Will this slow me down? Well, only in the bathroom…
As I walk out of the bathroom I hear on the sound system, “Event 19, Men’s 200 Freestyle Relay.”
I anchor the 200 yard freestyle relay, and our relay places.
I realize I beat out the slowest swimmer in the heat faster than me, making me place 16th. I scored 1 point, but, a point nonetheless. It was the point that earned my varsity letter.
New City, NY