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The Power of a Kind Word

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
-Leo Buscaglia
I'm in deep thought this morning as I was reminded a few times over the week-end, the power of a kind word.  For those that were at the meet and sent yours kids to the bullpen, the OSSC ladies that ran it did a wonderful job.  They had an easy going demeanor, never shouted at the kids and calmly got them through the crowds and to the blocks on time. I noticed.  While picking up my heat sheets Saturday night, I was greeted by the staffer at OSU that 'kicked' us out of the Mike Peppe for asking a question or two (although at the time she acknowledged our timely entry and polite demeanor throughout the entire in/out debacle).  As she greeted me, a choice few complaints about the meet raced through my head (the meet was an exhausting one to coach), but out of my mouth came the most important thing for me to relay - the one thing that could make a positive difference - praise and compliments for the bullpen ladies.  As I was walking away, she stopped me, called me back and asked that our team return to the Mike Peppe meet.  A great reminder to me that sometimes a genuine compliment can go a long way.

On to this morning.  I use my phone as my alarm clock.  So every morning, I wake up, roll over and stroll through my emails to start my day.  Probably not the healthiest way to start my day, but it does get me going.  I was pleasantly surprised to see in my inbox an email with the subject 'love our team.'  It was a wonderful email that encapsulated so much of what we try to teach the kids.  It is a reason why I am constantly urging all of you to attend practice as much as possible, get your kids to meets and leave your kids on deck with us.  I am going to share some of it (I have removed some to help keep this anonymous), as I just can't write or summarize it better myself:
Is our team perfect?  Are we the biggest, or the fastest, do we have the most wins?  Probably not, but what my children have gotten out of BKYS is far more important than any of that. The relationships that my children have been exposed to through swimming with BKYS are invaluable.
This year you started the buddies. I truly hope this continues because this is what being a part of a team is about. I watched a swimmer who scores points in every meet give one of her multiple heat ribbons to her buddy who otherwise never would have gotten one. I know my own children loved leaving treats and well wishes to their buddies.  Mine wears the cap she got from her buddy with pride. These relationships blossomed but never would have come about if they hadn't been planted.
I also wanted to point out some other things I witnessed this year that I believe are why we are the best.
Younger swimmers cheering at the end of the lane for a senior swimmer. This happened at the beginning of the season before high school season started but then I saw it again this weekend. You rarely see this with other teams and you always see this with our team when we are all at a meet together. (Our son) idolizes the "big boys". This weekend alone multiple parents sent me pictures of him with their sons "hanging" together between races.  I think this is because we have great families at BKYS but also because we have coaches who encourage these kinds of relationships.

(Our kids) have made steady improvements, as you pointed out during conferences, with their swimming. However, they have become better athletes, sportsmen/women and people because of BKYS.
Pretty cool, huh ? (Yes Lew, I said huh). This is so much of what we try to teach in & out of the pool at Buckeye.   It's what makes swimming so unique, and amazing. You just can't get this kind of interaction in 'team' sports where kids are only with their group of approximately 15 teammates of the same gender and age.

So as I reflect away, I am truly thankful to all of our parents that take the time to get their kids to & from practice and meets and entrust your children to us.  I will continue the buddy program (need to clean up those mail folders with our newest members for the summer) and I was especially pleased with the conferences.  I learned quite a bit from you about your swimmers and our families, and everyone was so positive at conferences.  You all had 15 minutes to complain away, but chose to take the time to give me constructive feedback and ideas to help us coach your children better.  Thank You!  We have started a new 'reward' (think outright bribery) program at practice with the Cup O' Plenty.  Watch for it, we are hopeful it will make it's way through most of the team this summer.  We will continue to look for positive ways to improve the program. Please continue to keep bringing your kids to practice & meets!

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