I had the complete pleasure of spending a Friday thru Sunday in Aggieland – otherwise known as College Station, Texas, as the big kids and I were attending Senior Gulf Champs for a swim meet. This is a prelim/final swim meet attended by all of the usual teams we normally see – teams from just North of Conroe, to Humble/Kingwood, to Beaumont, Port Lavaca, Deer Park, Pearland, Katy, Sugar Land, Spring/Klein, CyFair….you get the picture. A few exciting ads this year are from Colorado and Arizona. So it’s a pretty good sampling of people. All swimmers are 15 years old and older, everyone for the most part is pretty dog-gone fast. There are just different levels of fast. We’ve seen swimmers that are “just exercising” all the way to a few “junior national times” achieved AND we’ve also seen some wicked fast Olympic Trial cuts achieved. Just fast swimming…….
As I’m sitting in the stands at the BEAUTIFUL Texas A&M University Student Recreation Center, trying very hard to work, my eyes keep wandering to the swimmers in the water, as well as the swimmers/parents sitting around me. I’ve made quite a few observations this weekend while hanging out with this incredibly diverse group of people. You know…..watching people’s social (media included) skills LIVE.
Parents | I don’t understand sitting in the stands for 3 days in a row, from 8 in the morning to 9 at night, and NOT sitting with your team. Seriously? Are you SO into your own kid’s performances that you can’t sit with and cheer on your swimmer’s teammates? You know those teammates that they probably spend more time with than you? I just don’t get it, I know I’m relatively social, but geeez – so are these people. I see some that sit off by them selves as if they are too good to sit with “the masses” – need to look REALISTICALLY at those times again…..
Teen Swimmers | Those dang earphones. Really? You are NOT in school, NOT being preached at or coached. Take the time and get to know the swimmers that you spend 3-4.5 hours with a day, that share your passion of swimming. You can’t socialize when you are face down in the water staring at that little black line. Turn the dang music off, pack up your earphones and practice the social skills that you need to home for later on in life. And your music isn’t that good anyway – ha!
Social Skills | Wow. Should I have said, “Lack there of?” As a native Texan and Aggie – yes, I bleed Maroon – there are just some things that I expect from the youth of today. Guys – hold the dang door open for girls. I don’t care if they are a 4 years old with untied shoelaces and dragging a teddy bear, someone you hang with daily or a little old lady fighting an umbrella in this blustery, rainy weather. Hold the door open. You never know when you are going to make someone’s day. Your mom should have taught you that by 15. Pay attention. Yes, it matters. Girls – you can’t whine about the guys “not noticing you” if you are constantly staring at a phone, texting about how cute the guy is WHILE he’s sitting next to you. Yes, we know you are doing it. Here’s an idea – TALK TO HIM. With words, this is NOT the time to hone your social media skills. Try practicing those VERBAL skills. When you are older and in a meeting at your office of choice, you will not be able to text (if we are lucky). You’ll have to depend on your interpersonal skills that almost every last one of you are lacking. Including my own kids – yes, I said it.
Social Skills & Competition | In “the old days,” we were expected to root on our teammates (and mean it), not sit in the stands being unsociable, listening to music, and staring at the ground in hopes that no one would talk to us. That was simply not acceptable. Were we competitive with each other? HELL YEH we were. You ALWAYS try to improve your time, but we swam for bragging rights as well as “beating the clock.” In the water, it was no holds barred. This was a very important meet. These kids work all year long for meets like this one. Some are trying to simply better their times, while some are vying for Junior National cuts and Olympic Cuts. It’s the same sport, just different levels of goals. A little extra support from teammates would do nothing BUT HELP! Try it, you might get it back in return.
Digital Social Media Skills | Wow. Where do I go with this one? Parents – do you have a clue what your kids put on Facebook and YouTube? Really. Most of my friends have their kids’ passwords and SAY they are watching their kids’ pages – but there is NO FREAKING WAY they are. The only way kids are going to learn REAL social skills, is if someone calls them out on their behaviors. Like their parents. Like their coaches. Am I saying ride their butts all the time, no? They have to learn from their social mistakes, but I’ve seen some REALLY rough things – socially rough, not illegal/mean rough – this weekend. I really feel if some of these parents were watching what their kids were writing sometimes, it would get better. Now, some of these parents need to grow a backbone and actually “discipline” their kids as it helps them learn. They’ll still talk to you. REALLY. If they want to eat……
Now……Alexandra – get that 7 paragraph, re-post off your front page. Really.