I know nothing about swimming, swim technique, how a swim meet works...all I know is that I am informed that he is swimming in a meet, I make sure he is there, I buy a heat sheet, I sit and sweat and cheer him on when he is in the water...knowing full well he cannot hear me and if he could, he would be ever so embarrassed, but I pay his coaching fees, I have earned this right. The thought of being involved in a swim meet filled me with terror, the fact that officials have to wear white was only slightly less terrifying. White is not a colour that I wear well, and certainly poses a unique challenge when it gets wet. But I digress.
Unlike choosing to work at a particular company, I was forced to jump right into earning these volunteer points. And this is where the NKB Swim Team warmed the cockles of my hardened HR heart. Sometimes we forget what it is like for newbies. We make assumptions, i.e., of course the new employee knows that we all go out for pizza at 11:45 on Thursdays or of course, everyone who has a child in competitive swimming knows that there are short course swims and long course swims. No such assumptions were made with respect to me showing up for my first training session. No, I was treated as the idiot that I was...but in the most respectful and nicest way possible...donuts were involved. I received training on how a swim meet worked, on how to properly officiate, even how to act while on deck. On the day of my big timing debut, I was reminded of my duties, and put with a senior timer who knew exactly what he was doing and showed me how to do the job correctly, and when I neglected to actually, you know, time the first race properly, there was no yelling, . My experience was awesome, and I cannot wait to do it again. This is how it should be for every newbie not matter what the situation. Train them, orient them, put them with a mentor and give them the tools to succeed.
I mention all of this because as we move along in our careers, we start taking things for granted. We assume that everyone has the same experience and confidence levels as we do. To say I was terrified to go on the pool deck, during a regional meet and be a timer for the first time is an understatement. No one assumed I knew what I was doing, and I cannot express the level of appreciation I have for the excellent orientation I received. Orientation for newbies of ANY kind is important, it is a must and it is so often overlooked.
See you all at provincials!! I will be the one in white, confidently and calmly taking splits and remembering to hit the plunger.