Friday, September 15, 2017

Diving Mom

"What's that?" asked Walt, pointing at the television.

I looked at the mayhem on the screen and realized it was a promo for the reality show, Dance Moms, a show I am proud of never having seen.

Never having seen it, perhaps it's not fair of me to judge, but what I've seen in promos and hear rarely in other places makes me think it is about pushy mothers, pressured kids, and a dictatorial dance teacher.  Loads of fun.  Lot of yelling.  Lots of crying.  Who would watch that train wreck?

Apparently a lot of people, as it is now in its 7th season.  But just reading the Wikipedia description of the show gives me the creeps.

The first thing that comes to my mind, all the time, is -- please don't let me have been one of "those" moms!  I was a lot of moms -- a PTA mom, a room mother mom, a 4H mom, a boy scout mom, a ballet mom, a theater mom, a band mom, a jazz choir mom.  But maybe the most "mom" I was was a diving mom.
There was a time when Ned's friend Matt was on the diving team and Ned started copying him when they went swimming at the local pool and seemed to be pretty good, so when he said he wanted to join the diving team, I let him try out and he got in.  I don't remember how old he was, but probably 8 because he dove in the "10 and under" group for a bit.  Paul joined him, perhaps at the same time and eventually all 5 kids were in diving.  It seemed we were at practice (I almost wrote "rehearsal") or diving meets all the time.  We drove all over the state.

A lot of our friends had kids on swim teams and they drove all over the state too, but I loved diving because with swim meets, it was an all-day affair, you competed in several events throughout the day.  With diving you showed up for the time of your event, you did your thing, you got your award (or not) and then you could go home, unless you wanted to stick around and watch your teammates.

Our kids won awards

Sometimes big awards, sometimes small awards, sometimes participation awards, but I hope I was never pushy, never tried to make them do something they didn't want to do.  I only remember being a pushy mother once.  It was before a big meet and Ned was one of the top divers on the team.  He was miffed about something and decided he was not going to go to the meet.  I gave him a lecture about how I didn't care if he never dove again, but his team was counting on him that day and he was going to dive.  I hope the lesson was the importance of the team and not that i wanted him to go and make me proud.  He did make me proud but because he didn't let the team down.

We had some wonderful experiences.  I know I've posted this picture before, but how often do you get to say that you took a picture of Greg Louganis with your kids?

It was at a meet in So. California.  Greg had just won the silver in the Olympics.  This was a fun meet and at the end, the winner in each division did kind of a "best of show" competition.  10 year old Ned competed against Greg Louganis (spoiler alert:  Ned didn't win!)

As a Diving Mom, I learned a lot of stuff.  I learned how to score dives.  I learned how to judge a dive (I didn't learn well, but to this day I can guess judges' scores on simple Olympic dives). 

Walt was brave and judged more complicated dives.  He and another dad were judging the more advanced dives and one said to the other "you count the twists and I'll count the sommersaults."

I did a lot of organizing of the parents and my big coup was when I managed to get the newscaster from the Sacramento TV station to come and do a story on the little old Davis Diving Team.

It was one of those special periods in our lives.  I hope the kids remember it positively, and not the way I suspect those dancers will remember their young years when they are adults.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Ah, diving teams. I don't watch much diving these days, but I sometimes can tell by the approach when it is not going to go well.