up the atmosphere in the process. And above all, don't take it out on the kid, any kid.... Good things are worth fighting for.
(reprint of my editorial--Vol. I: No.3) White Water: There are two types of people in the swimming world: the capital letters and those who live in parentheses. The capital letters are the ones that stand out; they are the beginnings of sentences; they initiate activities and programs; they support the sport as well as themselves. Without them swimming is a shallow water activity--no depth, no color, no fulfillment. Patton is noted for its capital letters; we write long sentences into swimming history because we've got capital letters to write them with. We need a few exclamation marks (champions) to complete these sentences, but by itself the exclamation mark signifies nothing. It must be preceded by a sentence, and a sentence must be preceded by a capital letter. In other words, we've got a good start toward the top, we've got our capitals. The other type of person is the one who lives in parentheses; he is confined within himself, having little direct contact with the rest of the sport. He is the swimmer who never cheers or encourages his teammates; he is the parent who looks on the program as something his son or daughter has coming to them; and usually he has a list of complaints to go along with this attitude. These parentheses slow down the sentences, they are digressions. We want to keep them at a minimum at Patton. Our growing membership is a potential of capitals and parentheses--which one are you?
(reprint of my editorial--Vol. I: No. 4) White Water: The loudest "moan" in swimming today comes from the coach who must contend with Age Group parents. Every Age Group instructor knows the difficulty posed by the over-anxious father (i.e. mother) who tries to second-guess his program for Johnny's or Mary's benefit. This uninformed parent is bound and determined to make a champion out of his child in short order time. He doesn't like to see his off-spring taking lumps in meets or workouts; he wants to see him swim his best event; he wants to see him brought to a peak immediately; he wants to believe his boy or girl is the best at his current age...and he is always there between the coach and the child, trying to channel the coach's program through his own judgment. His counterpart, the "transparent parent," is a noble breed indeed; he is transparent because he does not obstruct the relationship between coach and swimmer, he does not interfere with the training of his child, either supplementing or limiting it as he sees fit. These are the two distinct types: the Age Group "Apparent" and the Age Group "Transparent." As I said in my last editorial, a good swimming group is one that is staffed with "capital letters." This type of individual is necessary to the all around well-being of swimming, its organization and its maintenance. Without him there is no organization. His job holds only the reward of helping others and the gratification he may get from this. But what compounds the shortcomings of his capacity is that he must also be a "transparent parent." The capital letter of swimming is invariably this type of individual. He knows that coaching is a singular function.
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