Monday, June 16, 2008

Official Responsibilities


I was a timer at a swim meet on Saturday, and let me tell you, that is some fun. You get to stride around with a stopwatch around your neck and a clipboard and pencil, looking busy and officious, delivering your cards every few events to the Clerk of Course (not to be confused with the clerk, of course). I’m not sure why I can’t just get a job doing that. I’m going on Monster, right now.

Anyway, the swimmers hand their cards to the head timer, who then hands them to the lane timers (including me. But watch out, head timer. I have few if any scruples. I’d watch my back, were I you). The cards contain the kid’s name, the name of the event, the kid’s seed time for the event, and the kid’s birthday; this is to verify that the kid belongs in the age group in which said kid is swimming. So I’m watching a 100-meter Individual Medley, and I overhear three girls comparing their cards as they wait for their event to be announced (Girls’ 13 and 14 IM, first heat. Seriously, look how much technical terminology I’ve mastered already, and I can’t get paid for this?)


“Why is my birthday on here?”

“Where?”

“Right there! Year and everything!”

“Oh, right, there’s mine too.”

“Whoa. That’s like, WAY too much information about me.”

What? Since when are 14 year old girls so concerned with information security? The conversation continued, and I couldn’t hear much more detail, as my swimmer was in his 4th lap. (During the 4th lap of a 100-meter event, timers need to focus. As the swimmer approaches the blue zone, you’re crouched over the edge, so you’re able to clearly see the swimmer’s hand touch the wall and to simultaneously stop your stopwatch. Accuracy is everything. The pressure is intense, yet no check payable to me will be forthcoming. I digress.) Anyway, although I couldn’t distinguish the words, I could clearly hear the tone of indignant protest at the idea of such deeply personal information handed out to any meet official (I’m an OFFICIAL, for crying out loud; yet I’m still expected to maintain full-time employment. How much can reasonably be expected of one woman?) who asks for it, with no regard for the consequences to the unfortunate person whose privacy has been so utterly compromised. These are the same children who chronicle every detail of their lives on Facebook, yet they have been so indoctrinated into the security culture that they’re afraid that the release of their date of birth will leave them exposed to everything from stalking to credit fraud. I felt a little sorry for them. At the same age, my friends and I would have been eagerly comparing cards.

“Hey! You’re a Virgo too!”

“Oh my gosh, my mom’s birthday is on December 11 and yours is on December 12? How weird is that?”

“Wow, did you see that lady in the yellow tshirt with the stopwatch? She has an aura of assured, competent composure, doesn’t she? She’s easily the most talented timer I’ve seen out here. I can’t believe she doesn’t get paid! What an awesome role model!”

“I know, I totally want to be like her when I grow up. By the way, did you hear about the head timer? Seems there were some pictures of him with the lady who runs the PTA. They’re going to announce the new head timer at practice tomorrow.”

“Oh my gosh! Gross! Well, the lady with the yellow tshirt should TOTALLY be the new head timer. She’s awesome.”

What? I’m trying to inspire youth here! Sheesh!

27 comments:

Suze's Sass said...

I know I would've totally said that. Right after I made fun of your age :)

CDP said...

Suze--of course you would. I totally should have added a line like "look! She's like 40, and she doesn't even need a walker! I hope I'm like HER when I'm elderly!"

enc said...

I LOVE this:
"delivering your cards every few events to the Clerk of Course (not to be confused with the clerk, of course)."


Did you hear me? I LOVE THIS:
"delivering your cards every few events to the Clerk of Course (not to be confused with the clerk, of course)."

CDP said...

enc--I've been thinking it ever since I got involved with the swim team last year, so it was a perfect opportunity to use it.

DCup said...

I'm so glad that you have a clear perspective on things.

Doesn't all that crouching down hurt your aged knees, Creaky?

CDP said...

Dcup--no, because I'm awesome! Don't you young people read? Sheesh.

Worker Mommy said...

You ar a fabulous official. I'm drawing up a letter now. Please let me know whom I should address it to so that you will immediately get paid for your superior skills!

pistols at dawn said...

Swim meets are the godawful-longest things ever. I went to one in 1995 and it just finished three hours ago.

Also, I hope you've got better things to do in your neighborhood, since SilverDocs just started. I know I'll be all Silly Springing it up several times this week.

CDP said...

WM--thank you! The rumors about me Photoshopping the pictures of the former head timer are ridiculously exaggerated

Pistols--Yeah, don't go to a swim meet if you're in a hurry. Unfortunately, I won't get anywhere near the AFI this weekend; we're going to Philadelphia to visit my family (after another swim meet, of course)

dguzman said...

Man, now I realize this whole career path I've been on has been a waste--where can I sign up to be a timer?

CDP said...

Dguzman--and no calculus required!

Matt said...

God bless the timers. Meets couldn't happen without them. Did they at least buy you lunch. It seems when my mom did it she got a free meal at the concession stand. Not much but it does at least say thank you.

I hate to burst the bubble on your new career path but as your kid(s) get better they will move to meets with touch pads. No need for timers. You will be forced to sit in the stands and watch Every. Single. Race. All. Day. Long.

Peace, love and good happiness stuff.

Matt
www.idealcrap.com

CDP said...

Matt--see, I knew it! I had plans to move up into timing at the Olympics; then it occurred to me that just possibly, they might have technology more sophisticated than "lady in a tshirt holding a stopwatch". I'll cancel my flight to Beijing. Damn it.

Dr. Zaius said...

My sister was the swim team for years. She loved it! She used to win ribbons every weeks. (This was back before Facebook, of course.)

CDP said...

Dr Z--my son loves it too. He's not the fastest, nor does he aspire to be...he just really loves the water and the other kids and being part of something (something that includes cool t-shirts and goggles!)

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