denny’s & memories

Happy Sunday, bloggies!

I’ve spent the past few hours lounging on the coach, watching the Redskins-Giants game.  It’s halftime right now, and so far the Skins are not looking too good.  The game must be sponsored by Denny’s, because amazing ads for Denny’s breakfast keep coming on during every commercial break.

Denny’s is greasy, slimy, carb-y, cheap, fast food and low quality, but I LOVE IT.  Any thought of Denny’s transports me back to high school Saturdays, of finishing a 10 thousand yard workout and dragging myself, muscles aching and chlorinated eyes burning, to Denny’s for a big group breakfast.  Being at Denny’s always signified the beginning of a 36 hour weekend, and usually it was a time when our coach, Steve, would let loose a little and share some wild stories from the swim generations before us.  Back when I could easily consume 5,000 calories at a time, our team trips to Denny’s were little treasures that I didn’t know I should treasure until they stopped.

So watching these endless Denny’s commercials on my lazy Sunday, I’m overcome with nostalgia for my high school days of swimming.  In no way do I miss the Friday nights spent crying, dreading Saturday’s workout; or the incessant drama that accompanied eight teenage girls with big egos; and definitely not the 3:53am alarm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (I cringed as I wrote that).

But I do miss my overwhelming optimism about life.  I miss having an amazing coach who I saw 25 hours a week, one whom I could tell anything and would give me his impartial opinion.  I miss my group of girls about whom I knew everything–what their bra size was; what their favorite shampoo was; exactly how they swam their races; what they used to protect themselves from chafing swimsuits.  I miss my high school swimmer body.  I miss eating (LITERALLY) everything in the house and still being hungry.

At 16, my life goal was to be married by 22, preferably to someone extremely wealthy so I would never have to work.  I am 22 now, scared to death of relationships and completely in love with my job.

At 16, I thought I would stay best friends with everyone I was close with in high school.  Today, I am close only with those who I swam with–our experiences together bonded us more than anything else ever could have.

At 16, I loathed the 40 million XL, light gray, logo-emblazoned Seahawks shirts Steve gave us.  Now, I love them for the memories and spot each one has in my heart.

At 16, I thought leaving for college was the end of the world.  Now I know that your life is as good as you make it, no matter where in the world you are.

At 16, I wanted to be in the Olympics.  Today, I dream of getting all my laundry folded, metroing to work on time, and finding an affordable vacuum cleaner.

At 16, I thought duct tape hearts left on my hotel room window were a sign of love.  At 22, I know that a true sign of love is when your parents fly across the country to cheer you on at every important swim meet in your collegiate career–and dress up as the school mascot.

Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably tell you that swimming for 15 years of my life was the worst decision I ever made.  But today, I feel indebted to my swimming career.  It gave me my drive, my competitiveness, my goals, my work ethic, my need to be successful.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to high school Saturdays, slumped in a Denny’s booth wolfing down three Grand Slam breakfast specials, shoulders burning and hair dripping, but I can’t.  So I must be content to look back on those days with fondness, as I relive them through NFL Sunday commercials.

love at the pool-- photo courtesy of caitlin

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One Response

  1. Hi! This is a beautiful posting. I am glad and relieved to hear you love your job–especially after reading the post re: 8 hours of meetings! It is always interesting to hear your reflections on your swimming career. Often it is horrifying to me–I simply cannot imagine the hours and effort. I would rather jab myself in the eyes with a stick than jump into an outdoor pool at 4 am in the winter. I don’t care if it is so-called heated. It’s plain unnatural. As I have mentioned to you before, I resented the swimming because it prevented our family from seeing you and Lisa more. I also frankly disapproved of the emphasis on swimming over music. But I feel proud by what you girls accomplished, and am glad and relieved to hear your positive take on what you gained from the experience. Of course, we’ll never know how you would have developed WITHOUT swimming. Do you ever wonder/conjecture about that? And what are you doing these days to stay in shape? Love from your WOAG (who remains flabby and undisciplined, but also loves her job)

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