Maxime Rooney Offers Perspective in Time of Chaos

Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

Maxime Rooney is a senior at the University of Texas and USA national champion. He recently posted a blog titled “My Perspective” and sent it to Swimming World.

Here is the entry Maxime Rooney shared:

Hey everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. With all the changes in the world, I wanted to take time for myself to sit down and reflect. I have a lot of thoughts that I want to articulate. In writing this post, my hope for readers would be that they be blessed by the words put on my heart. I’m really excited to share, and I hope you enjoy.

Last Thursday (Mar. 12) before entering the water for afternoon practice, I found out that the NCAA Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships had been officially canceled. Out of immediate frustration, I dove into the pool and as I surfaced I slapped the water as hard as I could. I was heated. I believed all of the hard work my teammates and I put in was a waste. All the obstacles and pain we endured were in vain. We had finally arrived to championship season – a time where we would be able to celebrate the fruits of our labor with our loved ones while enjoying the special and victorious moments we earned. Sadly however, the best part of the season ended early. All these thoughts aggravated me. I needed to cool off so I began swimming laps. Stopping every so often at the wall, I recognized the disbelief and devastation in my teammates’ eyes. We were all going through it together though, and we chose to keep swimming and keep moving forward.

I went home and talked with my loved ones, sharing my emotions and assuring them I would be okay. After hanging up the phone, I played some music in attempt to get out of my head for a little bit. Nonetheless, my attempts failed and my mind kept resorting to the many unanswered questions I had: What does all this mean? Is my collegiate career over? If everything happens for a reason, what am I supposed to learn from this? I didn’t like not having the answers I thought I needed to bring me peace. In spite of this and as a result of my deep reflection on the whole season, I am left with a hopeful reminder that has empowered me through these times.

More often than not, I become so focused on meeting my goals and the destination of a championship meet. While this passion and ambition for achieving personal excellence is important, it should not overshadow the joys that the gift of sport brings everyday. For me, I imagined that my championship meet would be a moment where the accumulation of my efforts this season would overwhelm me with a satisfying joy. Yet, this didn’t need to happen. As my season came to an abrupt ending, I wasn’t left feeling empty; I was full of gratitude for joy that I experienced all season long.

I truly believe that my sport of swimming and all sports are gifts meant to be enjoyed everyday. I can confidently say that, out of all my 16 years swimming, this was the most fun I’ve ever had because of my team. Even though we didn’t get to see the fruits of our physical investments, I cannot overlook the fruits of our emotional investments. These emotional investments have created strong bonds between brothers and friends for life. This is what is most important to me, and I’m so grateful.

I guess, in the end of all my reflection, I received the only answer I really needed. Through this experience, I learned a piece of what it means to be content. I don’t want to take for granted what I’ve been given. I want to make a conscious and daily decision to treasure and celebrate all the gifts of family, friends, health, sport and more.

Thank you for reading. I hope this post encourages you all and brings to light what’s most important in uncertain times. Let’s hold onto hope together. Have a week filled with love and joy!

• More College coverage here

• More on Maxime Rooney here

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