Sunday, August 05, 2012

County wide swim meet...Branden represented our town school

A month before school went on break they made announcements for anyone who swims in the highest level in swimming at the shogakko/elementary, if they would like to try out for the school’s swim team they were more then welcome. You had to be a 4th grader-6th grader. Branden was urged last year about a bunch of times, since he was the team captain last year (and this year) but he politely declined. This year they made the announcement yet again. I think Branden said about 10-12 kids showed up and showed interest. So they went into the library and had the talk. The talk basically said you had to swim under a certain time and yep they timed you to check. And if you could swim 50 seconds or less for the 50 meter then you could try out for the swim team. The time requirement knocked most of the kids out. : ( There were only 3 kids who made the team this year, who could also meet the swim time requirements. No 4th graders made it. Only (1) 5th grader made it, which was Branden. And (2) 6th graders made it, 2 girls. Momo-chan and Minami-chan. So our small country town school would be sending only 3 of our schools best swimmers. This was a whole county wide swim meet. And many schools showed. Most swim teams had 20-30 kids easily per team. Our school looked quite puny and teeny tiny showing up with only 3 kids. And out of them only 1 boy. : ( If ever there was an underdog team, ours was surely it!
The man with grey colored polo top with red Chiba-kun on it is Branden's 5th grade teacher and since he is also an avid swimmer himself, he is the school's swim team coach.
Lane 1 was where our school was to do their warm up. There was also another school warming up in lane 1. And 2 schools per lane did the warm up. This is where you loosen up your muscles. Get used to the pools temperature. That's Branden in the yellow Adidas swim cap in the water with a girl who went to a completely different school.
Branden doing another lap of warm up. All of us parents were given a phamphlet...not really a pamphlet. But it had who swims first. Who warms up where. What time each set swims. We knew by looking at the papers that as far as our school goes, Minami would swim first at 9am. And Branden would be swimming at 9:15am for the boys Freestyle 50 meter.  The prep Branden had to do before this huge swim meet? The swim team had to meet up at our town pool every single day since school went on break, the regular 4-6 graders would swim together and it would end at 11am. And then everyone would leave the pool and their parents would pick them up. And meanwhile the 3 would stay until noon, so an extra hour of practice each day. So many parents knew these 3 kids were representing our school. They would say..."Good luck". I would say thanks. And smile. And bow. Also all the teachers who were at the school pool doing lifeguard duty..... would also say..."good luck." I told Branden, win or lose at least you went and represented your school. You should be so very proud of yourself and we are very proud of you! 
The camaraderie these 3 felt towards one another was so obvious on this day. Branden smiling with Minami-chan in this pic. His 2 teammates were both in navy blue with blue swim caps. Minami used to swim for the same swim school Branden (did) and Noah does. And Momo-chan in the Nike navy swim suit about to warm up in this pic swam for the other swim school in the city nearest us. All of these kids basically either swam for either of those 2 swim schools. Except now they were all divided by school. His 2 teammates on the right of this pic.
Branden doing more warm ups about to dive into the pool. Also note, the same swim suits to the right. A lot of these school showed up with fancy shmancy all matching swimsuits. Do you remember in the movie Flashdance, when she went to get the forms from the dance academy and all the girls were wearing fancy ballet outfits and Alex was wearing her machinist outfit and steel toe shoes. : (  Well then you'll know how our school felt a bit.  But that's okay... our town school went to swim not to have a fashion show. And they were A-okay. Just the way they were! Besides only about 85% of the schools wore matching fancy uniforms, a few schools kept it basic same as our school.
Branden in the pool, they only had about 10 minutes to do the warm up. So I think this was Branden's last warm up.
Coach talking to our 3 and saying last minute things. Pep talk, this.... not that. And most of all good luck. 
There was a paper up above that said the name of each school, so it told the kids where they were supposed to sit.  Our 3 sat here. Sandwiched between 2 bigger schools. Ha ha ha. Branden said the girl on the right with the blue swim cap used to attend his swim club/school.
From diving area 2-5 was just 1 school! this is the city school where Noah's former yochien was in. 90% of our friends from yochien attend this school.  Noah's best friend H attends this school. So yeah we know this school well.  
Kids surrounding the entire pool area all separated... school by school.  No parents were allowed in the pool side. We were outside of the pool area. We brought a sun shade the same one we use for the pool.  We were also given notice to pack a lunch. So I did. And the weather? It was like 97 degrees F. And it felt like a humidity of a billion. It was melting steamy hot weather wise. Us parents were melting! Our school was to have the school meeting at 7:45am. So we left the house at 7am! Since this was far away-ish. Which means I woke up at 5:30am to get lunch going. I put makeup on but I wore a pony tail, since it was supposed to be a billion degrees outside that day. Noboru showed, Noah showed and so did I. Minami's mom and dad and little 4th grade sister showed and Momo-chan's mom came. However Noah's sensei/Branden's former sensei the Yuka-sensei showed up for about 30 minutes to cheer our school on. And so did Kouki-kun (Branden's classmate) he's thinking about trying out for next year. So it was awesome to get a few extra cheerleaders for our tiny town, every bit helped! : )
The chairs at the left top were reserved for each school's principal. Our kocho-sensei showed and he was very proud of our 3!!! Noboru knows him well from the Father's Club. ; )
Yay you three! Good luck! You represented us well!!!
The coach/Branden's sensei came and said something privately to Branden. I was watching and I wondered what he said. He also patted Branden on the head and Branden bowed his head. I later asked Branden what did sensei tell you? He said...."Go out there... have fun and beat those kids ne~!" And so Branden bowed his head and said...basically "yes, I'll try!"
9am, Person sitting on the seat is about to go on! person sitting on the floor will go on 2nd. So Minami is bowing her head. They scream out....last name is swimming for such and such school! The other schools had huge cheering crowds! We had So we all screamed loud. We tried to cheer our best considering there was just a handful of us. We screamed..."yay Minami" Good luck!!! She bowed, got up on the #4 dive spot and would you believe... she won! Yes she did! No fancy swim outfit or anything.... but yes she did! We were all beaming! Her parents were so proud and rightfully so! : )
Branden sitting in the holding area.
Branden now sitting on the floor, since he was next up! Our coach at the right timing this event. Most were timing the event for fairness!  And then it was Branden's turn. They said last name ...representing such and such school! Branden bowed. My heart was racing. Good thing it's him and not me, I would have fainted straight away. : )  The race is below, it was hard to take a proper video because school names are on banners at the back so that's why...I took the video at the horrible angle I did. Sorry. But it gives you an idea at least. Noboru screamed loudly...go Branden. The handful of us were screaming and cheering. And there they went.....
Out of 5 or 6 boys, Branden came in 3rd. Which I think is pretty fantastic! But look at my kiddos face. Seeing this picture makes me incredibly sad. Branden is very competitive and when he doesn't do so well, nobody is harder on Branden then Branden. And I wish he was kinder/nicer to himself. He's looking down hand on his head. Feeling quite down. For what it's worth, Momo-chan didn't win either who is sitting next to Branden. but you know doesn't matter....because Momo-chan did awesome! And so did Branden. When you see your child beating themselves up about it. You as a parent just want to run right over there and hug them and say...everything's okay and make it all better. But we can't...since parents are *not* allowed poolside. So I watched this heartbreak from afar. And it broke my heart as a mom. Don't laugh, it really really did. : (
Luckily for Branden he only feels down for a minute or two tops/most. And he shook it off and felt fine after that. Which made me feel better. When he walked by our tent a few minutes later he popped his head inside. He said, "I feel I really let my school down" the other mom's were there and Minami's dad and Noboru and Noah. I told Branden...."look honey I am proud of you plain and simple....proud regardless if you were to have won 1st place or last place, okay?! And the fact came in 3rd. And 3rd's pretty freaking great : ), it's not last though it wouldn't matter if it was! Okay. And yes your school will be incredibly proud of you because at least you *tried* and you at least represented them. Now you dust that worry right off I right...or am I right?" Branden started smiling and became my Mr. Dimples yet again...he looked happy and very relieved. Our handful of teammate parents are wondering what we are talking about since I was speaking to Branden in English but I speak to the mom's in Japanese. @_@ But it sounded happy our tone and our faces. But...they still wondered. Meanwhile Branden smiled and left. Noboru and I explained what was said and our fellow teammate parents totally agreed and smiled and shook their heads. So their feelings excatly. : )
This says...50 meters freestyle for boys. Branden was team A. Far column is what lane you swam in, Branden swam in lane 5. The 2 circles I whited out are the 2 kanji for our last name. I also whited out all the school names since we are all in the same county. The next column is their time (how fast they were). Branden swam the 50 meter in 44 seconds flat! And the far right column said what order you placed. Branden's says he finished 3rd place! Which is still pretty great! I am very proud of you kiddo! At this point, Momo-chan and her family and we could have left. However since Minami-chan won she was put into the finals. So she had to stay to at least 2:30pm. Considering the heat outside it was like sitting outside on the sun! And we all probably could have easily come down with heat stroke or something. However like I said...camaraderie and a team mate is a teammate. and like we say in the one left behind! We decided to stay and root Minami-chan on. So a bazillion degrees outside or not we stayed!
Our family lunch, I packed 5 sandwiches (one extra which Branden ate but he was so active he needed it!). Chicken cutlet sandwiches. Mine also had potato salad. We also had macaroni salad. Fresh fruit.... grapes for Noah and a peach for Branden. And chocolate cakes. I also packed a bottle of lemonade. And had both the boys fill their Mario thermoses with tons of ice and drink. I brought my Starbucks tumbler with ice tea but the ice melted by 9am it was just too blazing hot.
Here is our town's school swim team for the year of 2012!!! Left to right....Branden-kun, Momo-chan and Minami-chan! Minami-chan was disqualified for her 2nd swim and it really was sad what happened. Because when she swam her goggles accidentally fell off her head. And a swimmer without their goggles is essentially blind in the pool. So there she was blinded couldn't see which way to go. So she stood trying to get her footing and if you stand in the pool with your foot you are immediately disqualified! Her goggles were floating. And we were all so sorry. : ( Oh yeah and the final, she swam at 2:30pm she came in 2nd place. However we were so totally proud. She totally did our swim team proud! As did all 3 of them! Unfortunately, Minami-chan and Momo-chan can't swim next year since next year they'll be in junior high. But Branden's teacher/coach has already asked him if he'd like to swim for our schools swim team next year! : )  I am so proud of you Branden, I want you to always know that, win or lose, the important thing is you tried! And I love you so very much kiddo! : )  By the way,. Noah had been watching all day long he actually thought it was so exciting and fun. Not scary at all. So Noah says can't wait until he is a 4th grader. Ha ha ha. : )  Anyway...this is what our family did last Friday, August 3rd, 2012. We watched Branden compete in an elementray school swim meet!