We walked through the double glass doors, paid our entry and looked for familiar faces among the those present. It was warm, humid, everything that I remembered.
I’ve mentioned before, that as a teenager my family moved from metropolitan suburbia to backwoods farming country. OK, OK, did I fall into line; yes, yes I did. My first purchase for a mode of transportation was a Farmall H tractor! But that’s another story. My school, the building, was the most modern in the State of Indiana, when built in 1922! Yes, it was a farming community. Many of the boys were excused from classes in October for harvesting. My family wasn’t farmers, nor was I excused from class. We had two sports then, the number one attention grabber boys basketball and cross country. I couldn’t run worth anything AND I couldn’t walk and dribble a basketball. I was in the band, sort of, I was the drum major, but I didn’t play an instrument, so I only attended band when we were in marching practice. No we weren’t one of the highly competitive bands, we just worked at marching in straight lines for the Christmas parade! So, no, high school didn’t find me associated with any particular group that developed into long lasting friendships.
So here we sat, in the bleachers, in places reserved for us. Well, NOT actually for my wife and I. But they were the places that we pretty much tried to grab 25 years before. We, my wife and I, along with a another couple, Steve and Kathy were representing about a dozen parents that used to sit here 25 years ago. No, this is not the school that I was raised in., but a different middle-Indiana school These ares modern times, they have BOTH boys AND girls sports. The list of school sports is long but the number one attention grabber remains, boys basketball.
And so we sat, in the bleachers at the school pool. None the participants names were familiar to us. We had moved away from this town 13 years before, but we sort of expected a relative of someone we knew might be competing, but no. And No; this school has never really had a major focus on competitive swimming, oh, sure there was the occasional individual stand out, but not as a team. However, twenty five years ago, these boys came together and broke many of the schools swimming records. Some records remain to this day. The individual 50 and 100 free set by team member Mike in 1994 and the 200 and 400 free relay from 1992 still stands.
Flashing back, 25 years, it’s difficult to have anticipate today. Many of the team members have been married and experienced the agony of divorce, some have lost love ones or experience major illnesses, others are no longer here. They are all approaching middle age. Middle age!! Yes, it’s hard fathom, 25 years later, our children are in their 40’s, pondering all the same challenges we did. And yet these young men came back with smiles on their faces, remembering those successful days as the 1992 Tiger Sharks most successful swim team, ever; Record 15-3, 8 Varsity Records (two still remain), 6 Conference First Place Finishes, 5 All Conference Swimmers, 2 Sectional Records, 6 State Qualifiers, 1 All State Honorable Mention and a relay that finished 14th in State Competition.
And so flashing back 25 years, there sat Steve and Kathy, my wife and I, relishing in our children’s enjoyment, sharing in the remembrances of their successes with their coach and the other team members who drove or flew in, for this moment, and thinking of those that couldn’t make it. These boys, who became men, fathers, mentors; proud parents we are.
Mark, Eric, Chris, Coach, George, Mat, Ben and John fond memories.