Back Home Again in Indiana
From what I understand, Luke Sullivan is a very big deal in the world of advertising. I’ve never read his book, but I do follow his blog, and the other day he posted the highlights of an assignment he had his students do – write headlines for The Onion. As soon as I saw it, I knew I couldn’t let these golden headlines go to waste.
Swim Meet Parent Holds Sign “Swim Fast or I’m Leaving.”
The stench of chlorine permeates the air, and the thick humidity does nothing to dampen the echo of a smattering of spectators’ cheers. Phrases like “Come on, Collins, you got this!”, “Remember, you’re 85% fish!”, and, inexplicably, “Defense!” bounce off the walls of the natatorium as one lone parent holds a sign that reads, “Swim Fast or I’m Leaving.”
“I’ve been coming to these swim meets for 8 years now, and I’m over it,” explains Alice Williams, whose son, high school junior Michael Williams, is still on the 5th grade swim team. “He’s never won a single race. Just because his name is Michael and he doesn’t drown every time he sees a pool doesn’t make him Michael Phelps.”
When asked why she’s allowed his swimming career to continue on this long, Ms. Williams replies, “See how he towers over the other kids? I keep thinking with that height advantage he’ll win the next race. But he’s like a sea sloth compared to these kids. If he doesn’t win today, I’m not coming to another one of these meets. I’ll drop him off and pick him up, but I’m not staying. I have things to do.”
Those things? “Anything that doesn’t end with me reeking of chlorine when I’m done. I’d rather smell like a Subway than a pool at this point.” And with that, the whistle blows and Michael Williams sluggishly swims what proves to be the last race his mother will sit through. As Michael comes in dead last once again, Alice quietly packs up her bag and heads for the door, leaving the “Swim Fast or I’m Leaving” sign in her stead as other parents look on with envy.