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And The Word Is?

Colin Christmas at Somerset ASA County Championships 2019Somerset ASA County President Colin Christmas (pictured right) writes:

"I don’t know if there is a word for it – I’ve never needed one until now. That’s me , curious and a little bit lazy. I’ve been trying to think of one word to describe the sort of day I had last Sunday, last day of our County Championships.

"I knew some time ago that I would miss the first weekend. As it turned out I was too jet lagged to make the second and I wasn’t sure if I would even make the last. I did though and am glad I did.

Even though I still can’t think of a word to describe the experience.  A unique sense of precedence, privilege, made up with several parts respect and admiration together with generous splashes of freedom and special ‘licence to roam’.

"I've never been to Counties without having at least one job which no one else could do and which was going to last all weekend. Now, I was able to meet and talk with countless swimmers, coaches, parents and officials in a wide range of contexts throughout the day.  It dawned on me as I drove home that something like that could only have happened in a presidential year.

"Not to put too fine a point on it, it is not something I am likely to forget and something Kelly has to look forward to next year.

"Neil Chambers was Meet Manager. Busy though he was, he found time to talk and share thoughts and ensured I was kept busy. I was also able to catch up at various times with Fiona, County Secretary and Development Officer and with Competition Secretary Kelly.

"I even mingled a couple of times with the ‘white army’, coordinated by Carolyn Cox, our Swimming Officials Panel Secretary, as they gathered for well-earned breaks. I  was reminded again of just how official-intensive our sport is, compared say with football where you can get a 90 minutes game with just a referee and two assistants. Carolyn recently took over from Graham Cockhill. As well as anyone she knows that new officials are always needed to ensure that competitions can take place across the County. So remember to check our website for details of up and coming courses and keep reminding our members.

"My thanks, by the way, go to those who supplied the tea, coffee and cake and made sure I didn’t miss lunch because of the relay presentations.

"In the afternoon, Neil asked if I fancied a bit of marshalling – heats for the 50’s were looming and one of the volunteers needed to leave. Why not? I had vague distant memories of that special organised chaos and those who managed it. Nothing much has changed there. Except, I showed my age a lot later on, once the finals were almost over, by asking Neil if he remembered the blue and pink cards. He smiled politely and said he didn’t - but I know he was thinking "Do I really look that old to you?".

"I’m a bit of lost cause when it comes to holding onto stuff and I still have a several of those cards at home in a box, mementoes of my years with Minehead and West Somerset. Dinosaurs roamed the earth then and mobile phones were the size of house bricks. Laptops and meet management software were still vague shapes on the horizon, can you imagine?!

"As the pressure eased down on poolside I asked one of the many who had successfully delivered some hundred and more swimmers to the blocks in the right lanes and heats that morning, if it had been a long day for him. He was from Yeovil, I know because he told me later his daughter was swimming in one of the finals and I recognised the cap. "Yes" he smiled and explained why: he had been on night shift the night before coming down to the pool this morning! He checked his watch and might have said something about being awake for 15 or 16 hours already…and caffeine...? (After a slight hiccup calling swimmers for the presentations at the end of the day, I’m glad to say I was able to present his daughter with a bronze medal later…)

"I bet there is no single word to describe his day and the contribution he and countless others made to ensure the success of events like this. I do know two simple words - “said too much but not enough”….
So,  to everyone, longsuffering parents, tired swimmers and coaches, patient and watchful officials, busy people on the door, marshalls in the car park………and anyone I have missed, ‘Thank You’

"Next Year?

"I know, that’s four …."

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