An Appreciation for What Has Been Missed: Coronavirus Edition

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Coronavirus: An Appreciation for What Has Been Missed

By Elise Devlin, Swimming World Intern

The icebreaker, the common theme, the pretty much guaranteed, relatable topic.  Swimmers can sometimes just really dislike swimming.  Like everything else, it has so many blessings.  Lifelong friends, mental and physical endurance, and it’s a character builder like nothing else.  Yet the one piece of conversation that seems to strike a bonding moment between swimmers pretty much all the time is…why are we doing this?? 

It’s easy to lose sight of your purpose when the sport itself is consuming you and all your time.  However, every athlete, swimmer or nonswimmer, has a purpose that drives them to continue to compete.  Although it might not be as present on some days, it’s always there.  As an athlete, every day is important and necessary to get better in order to fuel that purpose.  So clearly a global pandemic is not exactly ideal.  But it is a good opportunity to reflect and recognize just how great swimming is, and that even though we give everything to it, it gives us everything in return.   

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.  Who would’ve thought this could apply to sports?  But here I am, along with every other swimmer, missing this sport more than I ever thought I could.  There are definitely some parts of the everyday routine that I miss a lot more than others.  Scheduled exercise is one of those things. 

Quarantine during the coronavirus is making everyone feel a huge lack of structure in their life, and having a routine before all of this, gave us that structure that swimmers and athletes thrive off of.  I used to despise swimming for being a sport that requires up to three workouts a day, including the first one being at 6 in the morning, but now I realize it made sense.  The feeling of accomplishment after finishing a set that seems impossible to get through before most people have even woken up yet, is the most rewarding feeling.  This feeling starts your day and carries you through the rest of your everyday routines.  Up until now, I had no idea it was something I should be grateful for. 

The amount of dedication this sport requires is the reason that leadership, time management, and goal setting qualities are embedded into our personalities and actions forever.  This makes every other aspect of our lives that much easier, and we should be thankful that swimming makes us better people even out of the water.

Sports can truly give you some of the best friends you’ll ever have.  It’s just something about sharing the same pain each day and getting through that together, that creates the strong bond you share with your teammates.  Even though this virus has not allowed teams to practice, it has forced everyone to realize how grateful we should be for our teammates, our closest friends.  Seeing each other at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows is not something you can just get anywhere.  One of the best feelings post-coronavirus will be that first practice back, swimming alongside teammates, killing another set with them.

Being stuck in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic can really do wonders in terms of realizing how much can be taken for granted.  Now more than ever the sport of swimming is feeling all the love and recognition it deserves.  Within this sport, anyone can find great people, unity and togetherness, and a killer workout anytime they need it.  The swimming community truly is something all of us swimmers should be thankful for.  Although it is being appreciated a little more now that we don’t have it in the palm of our hands, this sport teaches us how to handle adversity, while being surrounded with people who help you grow.  We should appreciate it not only now, but always.

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