Summer has officially arrived, and with it, the summer swim team season.
My children really are not swimmers. My oldest swims well enough to propel herself through a youth triathlon so that she can smoke other kids on the bike and run. My middle enjoys being in the water and puts on a good show of adjusting her goggles before demonstrating that she can swim approximately five yards before coming up to gasp and doggy paddle her way over to to the lane lines. My youngest - granted, a toddler - is working on sticking her face in the water without crying.
So when I reference summer swim team, please understand that our family approaches it from the most recreational perspective possible. Little did I suspect that yesterday's first practice of the season would be such a bonanza of Momzilla!
Please allow me to focus the scene on the group of 6-and-unders who really couldn't swim and were foisted on a clearly well-meaning and unsuspecting coach who was faced with the task of not only coaching these kids in freestyle stroking, but also encouraging them not to drown. Even as I dealt with my own swimming protege as she screamed her way through dunks underwater and did her best not to poop in her swim diaper, I felt bad for this poor coach.
Bad turned to worse when it turned out that the mother of two of the young non-swimmers was a raging Momzilla. She was disguised in an unflattering haircut that, luckily, was congruent with her unflattering workout suit, which was undoubtedly unflattering in 1989 when it was purchased.
Within about 10 minutes of the swim team practice (or, more accurately for these little ones, rudimentary swimming lesson), this woman began muttering to herself. This, I have learned in my decades on this planet, is rarely a good sign. Muttering soon turned to actual speaking - though no one really wanted to listen - and soon to a full voice announcement. "THEY'RE JUST STANDING THERE. THEY'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING. NO ONE IS TEACHING THEM ANYTHING. THEY'RE NOT LEARNING ANYTHING. SOMEONE HAS GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS." Luckily, the poor swimming coach was too overwhelmed with trying to get the kids who could actually swim to do so with good form, and the ones who couldn't swim to, well, figure it out, so that she didn't hear the increasingly piercing rants from the sideline.
With no immediate pandering in sight, Momzilla started pacing around the pool, complaining to anyone and everyone who looked like they worked there. At one point, she blissfully disappeared, only to return armed with a swim team brochure. She probably should have read it in the first place, to notice that children should be able to swim 15 yards of freestyle unassisted, which might indicate to any normal person that the point of swim team was to coach, rather than teach, swimming. Apparently she skipped that part at the beginning, and definitely skipped it again when she flew right to the phone numbers listed on the brochure. She literally whipped her cellphone out of her purse like it was a cutlass she was unsheathing, and systematically called every number on that piece of paper, leaving hostile voicemail messages for each.
Apparently, this did not provide the release that she was looking for, because she then walked over to the side of the pool nearest her children's group, which had all thankfully managed to not drown yet. She literally stood there and glared at the coach until she pulled all of the kids out of the pool to review stroke technique on dry land. At this point, Momzilla followed them over and stood arm's length from her kids, in her best effort to stare down the coach from a closer angle. I swear, if she had been able to summon either laser beams or fire to shoot from her pupils, it would have been the happiest moment of her obviously miserable life.
The kids got back in the water to practice their newly refined stroke technique, and Momzilla resumed her previous perch, still glaring at the coach, who must have been wondering if it was possible to get a restraining order against a crazy person before they have actually committed a crime against you. Once the kids were dismissed from class, Momzilla swooped in with towels and parked them on poolside lounge chairs. She literally barked at them, "YOU DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING TODAY. WAIT HERE. I'M GOING TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS."
By this point, I was officially sorry that I didn't have pen and paper to take notes. I also noticed that the kids didn't seem at all upset or undone by this turn of events. It occurred to me that they have probably been through it all before at the tender ages of 4-ish and 6-ish.
As for me? I'm happy that it wasn't me. That I chose to not sweat the small stuff, and instead just sweat in the desert heat. And as I pack up for swim team this afternoon, I'm definitely tossing a little notebook and pen in my bag. Just in case Momzilla shows up for practice again.