Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Middle School Sports

While we have long been used to traveling to swim meets, our school here in Munich has taken it to a whole new level. The kids, starting in middle school, travel with their sports teams to far flung events throughout Europe. Our school is in a league with other international schools and thus travels for dual meets as well as league championships. While we knew this was coming, we were basically in denial until Tori made the tennis team and got on a bus to Zurich….without us!
While it is a great experience for the kids, it is nerve wrecking one for the parents (or at least the parents of sixth graders). Our daughter doesn’t have a phone and is not in the habit of checking any electronic device (including a watch!) or even checking in with us!  Once the kids get to where they are going, they stay with families on the other end. We don’t the phone numbers but our students billet out in groups of two, so they have a friend (and usually a friend with a phone). All in all, it has been a lot of fun. The kids make conversation with a new family, try new food and hopefully make their beds. They figure out (before their parents) who is in the European Union and who is not. Yes, we sent Tori to Zurich with only Euros not Swiss Francs!
Just when we got used to the idea of Tori going to a foreign country on a bus, she went to a swim meet in Athens. On a plane! (Full disclosure: I panicked on that one and went to Athens too, along with her godmother where we watched Tori swim and have a good time and not need us at all).
The last swim meet of the season was in Zurich and over a school break. Tori went on the bus with the team and the rest of us followed by car. There we stayed with old friends, generally marveling at how similar their life in a Swiss village and our life in a German village is. We went to the swim meet the next day, watching Tori turn in some personal best times and win a few ribbons. What was so amazing to me was the continuity. I spoke with Americans who grew up swimming. A Chinese family from Beijing who swam with a team I knew. A coach from Vienna and I talked after he recognized a swim t-shirt Tori was wearing from a Hong Kong meet. We realized we had talked before in Hong Kong. He and I compared notes on swimming in Europe. Yes, it is much less intense, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. And funnily, the same people seek it out and find it and show up at 7 am for warm ups.
And this just in; Tori is going to Vienna this weekend with the middle school softball team!


Post a Comment

<< Home