Fish that fight
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 - 8:51pm
Fighting fish. Scientific name: Beta Splenden. And mascot of the Uni girls swim team. The swim team is known for its ever-changing name. Last year it was the Stingrays (which was very timely considering the untimely death of Steve Irwin). The year before that, the Pirates.
This was one of the more controversial names for the team to pick, because pirates are generally well-known for being lawbreakers and less than honorable people. But the people on the team would simply have pointed out that they liked the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean." Mainly, though, it contrasted nicely with the two previous years' "Rubber Duckies."
I am a part of the swim team, so I can honestly say that we get very little recognition. I can understand that, though. After all, swimming is possibly one of the most boring sports to watch unless it's professional. The suits are not meant to be aesthetically pleasing, and neither are the caps, or the extremely attractive goggle-marks that any swimmer can testify that they get every day. And it's all in the water, which means you can't really see what's going on (what with all the splashing).
Still, any swimmer will be happy to rattle off a list of all the things that they do every day that makes their sport harder than any other (at least at Uni). We don't wake up at 5:30 in the morning. We are in the pool at 5:30, and up at 5. And we do it all in freezing water.
Swimming works every muscle in your body: legs, arms, and abs. And while you're working out, you don't just get to breathe whenever you want. You hold your breath, sometimes until your lungs feel like bursting. This year, the Uni team has suffered even more than in past years because we don't have an official pool. So after being in the cold water for an hour, we pick up all of our heavy bags and walk through the cold for a few brief moments (enough to chill you) to the unbelievably small, hot, and bad-tasting pool at CRCE.
In spite of all of this and the fact that we never go to state and rarely win meets because we don't have anyone diving, I still love swimming. Once you get past the fact that we spend the majority of our Saturdays traveling to dinky country towns where we inevitably get lost and spend time driving around aimlessly in the early morning, you're never really dry or free of the smell of chlorine, and you accept the fact that you will want to burn any pictures snapped at a meet, swimming can be enjoyable. The team bonding is amazing, everyone has a secret buddy (and usually the best of all the sports in my experience) and birthday or "unbirthday," and there is a certain sense of pride that you can brag to any of your friends that you got two hours of sleep and still went to practice, sat through classes, and took that test.
My favorite part is still coming up with what our mascots say. Did you know that stingrays say "ner" and fighting fish say "narf"?