Monday, April 11, 2005

Cluster &%$#

When you live and work abroad you are sometimes asked to step outside of your comfort zone and teach outside of your area. I was once a coach for a swim team. I had no experience and only a willingness to give it a go. I got paid a decent amount and earned more jobs as a result. Overall, I recommend giving it a try. Who knows.. maybe you can coach cricket!

What follows is a tale of a near-miserable-failure that turned out alright after all... especially with a cold jug-o-Tiger as the finale.

It's all part of the adventure of being abroad isn't it?!


Gentlemen, let me just start out by saying that I write this with a buzzing head.

I have only just returned from the Back Yard Pub, a proper pool shooting, beer swilling dive within 200 yards of my house. It is only the 2nd time I’ve visited the establishment since I moved here… not nearly enough patronage from me.

My friend Dave and I decided we needed a few pitchers of Tiger after today’s swim meet.

First off, I had to attend a workshop today at FRIM. NO taxi would pick me up. I finally had to bribe one with an extra 10 Ringgit. When I arrived NOONE could tell me where the MNS Education Center was. I walked about 1.5 miles looking for it on the wrong road. I finally found it and arrived 30 minutes late.. after arriving 30 minutes early..

Next, we had our first swim meet. We invited the local French School over to swim a few laps.

I had stayed up late the night before preparing the lane assignments, heats, and age groups for the events. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. The pressure was on. I knew I wouldn’t be at school, since I would be at workshop. I knew I would only arrive about 3 p.m. and the meet warm ups would start at 3:30. That basically meant I had to have my shit together the day before so I wouldn’t look stupid.

Anyway, the French school never faxed their swimmers, ages, or events. So I didn’t know whether to expect 10 or 100 swimmers. I prepared for the maximum. They showed up with 10 VERY beginners.

Which translates to last minute changes in lane assignments, races and even combining a few age categories to fill the pool. It’s tough to swim a race with only 1 competitor!

Anyway, the first couple of races was a, pardon my French, CLUSTER FUCK!

Kids weren’t listening. Parents were yelling because their dumbass kids missed their race because they weren’t listening. And, mysteriously, kids were showing up at the wrong lane for the wrong event and the wrong age category! HOLY SHIT!

Anyway, my assisstant coach (who, by the way, is recently divorced and having a crisis in life and as a result I end up counseling and assisting) is freaking.. only somewhat.

She ends up apologizing to the French coach because our meet is such a CLUSTER FUCK! He says, well “don’t worry. I actually have the kids in the wrong age group, wrong name and wrong sex.” In other words, he’s been randomly sending kids to races without paying attention to the order, event, age, sex etc. HOLY SHIT! How funny is that? So now we know… it isn’t our fault, as we assumed! HA! We laugh! He says his English isn’t so good.

What a riot! Anyway, it smoothes out after we explain to him to listen to the announcer Dave, who decided we need some beer.

The meet ended up OK. We even have some potential record breakers. But, man, what a way to start!

So that, gentlemen, is my story for today. And I’m sticking to it.

By the way, I won’t really expound upon the mom that called her child “stupid” for breathing wrong during the breast stroke.. Which, I now have to address during my parents meeting tomorrow and institute a ‘NO NEGATIVITY’ poolside policy.. or else you will be ejected from the pool deck..

How funny would that be? To be ejected from a swim meet?


So I drink my Tiger beer and relax in the pub post swim meet. Ah, craziness!

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