Armed with vitamin C, Advil, tubs of lotion (for all the chlorine exposure) and more reminders about drinking water and staying hydrated than one child could possibly benefit from, we put our child on her first plane flight, alone, to Colorado Springs, Colorado to explore the Olympic dream.
I have always been a big proponent of exposing kids to their ambitions; my philosophy is that if you can’t visualize it, then you probably won’t achieve it. So we take them to watch high school, college, and professional games and matches in their sport of choice.
This trip was that concept on crack. When she was originally chosen to participate in USA Women’s Water Polo Holiday camp, part of their Olympic Development Program, we weren’t sure we would do it. It’s the top female players from around the country in her age group and they all travel to Colorado Springs where the U.S. Olympic team trains. You have to pay for the camp and for your flight. They also miss three days of school, going Thursday to Monday. It was a big deal and a big undertaking.
The participants stay in the dorms like the athletes, eat at the same cafeteria, and play in the same pool. They also train like Olympians. Each day was jam packed with skill work in the water, meetings and film sessions. Needless to say, she came home exhausted. Here is a look at her daily schedule.
The first night, they were in the pool until 10:30pm!
I realize the chances of her being an Olympian are teeny tiny, but exposing her to a place and to people where excellence, hard work and dedication are required was worth everything!
She returned home with a renewed sense of purpose for Water Polo. She was allowed to experience greatness in all aspects of its meaning and it seeped into her soul. I have seen its effect in big and small ways. She talks differently about her sport now. She is dreaming bigger and talking more about the future.
In her first game after the camp, she was doing moves and defending in ways I had never ever seen her do before. She learned so much. But the growth wasn’t only in Water Polo; she grew as a person. She learned she could depend on herself and that she could navigate new situations just fine, thank you.
The Holiday camp will be one of those memories of a lifetime, and who knows, it just might end up being the start of something big for her in Water Polo.