If I start to bore you with diving stories then please stop me. Soccer and diving are our world so that, my friends, is the bulk of what you’ll hear about for a while.
I watched my son again tonight in all his glory. There are several other children who dive at the same time that he does. They all have to wait in line and rotate through their dives. This is a lot of waiting for a sensory kiddo.
While waiting, he slaps himself with the shammy giving himself massive sensory input and spraying water everywhere. He shimmies his feet back and forth along the wet cement on the side of the pool. He swings on the bars of the diving board. He stays in the corner of the pool doing flips in the water or going under the water to try to touch the bottom and coming back up. Basically, he finds ways to meet all of his sensory needs and still pay attention to where the line is at so that he’s sure to get back in it and get his dive.
The moment his feet hit the diving board his entire demeanor changes. He makes direct eye contact with the coach. He listens closely to the directions for the dive he is supposed to do and the things he needs to focus on. Coach tells him to not make his entrance to the water look like a squashed bug. Eli laughs, taking the edge off any nervousness he has as he gets ready to dive. This coach understands him.
His favorite dive is the front tuck dive. He’s working hard on the back dive. He’s jealous that his friends are able to do a backward forward dive already and he isn’t able to do it yet. He’s excited about doing dry board this weekend to get more “safe” practice in. He wants our whole family to come to practice on Monday so none of us miss any of it.
After practice tonight the coach told me that he’s making slow but sure progress. He can see that Eli loves diving and is excited about it. He said he listens so well and tries so hard. He is a little cocky. He has what it takes to be a great diver.
The coach shared that divers have a right to be cocky. They stand on a platform wearing next to nothing in complete silence with all eyes on them and they have mere seconds to shoot for perfection. “If they are good divers,” he said, “they get to be cocky.”
For now Eli is shooting for fun and perfection all in the same moment. He loves what he is doing and looks forward to all of the new things he will learn. He shared with me tonight that he likes getting to diving early so he can watch the older kids dive. That way he knows what coach will be expecting of him next and he won’t be worried about it. He is finally figuring out ways to combat against his anxiety.
Like many athletes before him, he ends his workout with music. He needs to wind down. He needs to get his Lady Gaga on. Tonight he needed Poker Face specifically. I turned it up a little and got the thumpa-thumpa going. Mommy! The speakers are dancing. They aren’t supposed to do that! Jeesh… Don’t you know I have sensitive ears?!?! And I turned it back down. Apparently we wind down to Lady Gaga at a normal volume.
And so, another night of diving has come to an end. We are reminded again and again why this is such a great sport for him. Olympics or not, I believe he will go far with this sport and he will enjoy every single moment of it. He will gain a true confidence and belief in himself. He will have a genuine pride in himself. No matter the outcome, he will be successful. And I will be waiting on pins and needles for his first official meet!