Throughout life, we experience many firsts and lasts. This year is my senior year in high school and I am about to experience many High School related lasts.
Yesterday I experienced my first last, the schools annual swimming carnival.
I have never been one for swimming carnivals. I have never enjoyed the stress of getting to events on time, suffering the pit of competitive angst and worry that I feel in my stomach while competitively swimming, all while the sun is beating down on my pale skin, creating sweat that turns the Sunscreen into grease and lets face it, no matter how much you put on you still get burnt.
Well, that is how I used to look at it. Yesterday I felt a sense of superiority, a fresh breath of air, a new lease on life (and any other cliché sayings you can think of to represent my new sense of entitlement).
It was the last time I would ever be forced into the pool.
Though to me, it felt as though the swimming carnival started about two weeks earlier.
As a senior (boy, I love saying that!) I was able to participate in the organisation of things such as war cries and painting props for the house. The school is divided into athletic groups known as ‘houses’, based off of the first letter of your last name, like ‘Gryffindor’ and ‘Slytherin’ in Harry Potter.
Two of my amazing friends and I (To protect the wonderful, lets call them Marcia and Greg) helped to co-write the ‘war cry’ that the house sings to declare that we are by far better than everyone else and are without a doubt going to win so nar nar ne nar nar. We told them all that to the tune of In The Summer Time by Thirsty Merc.
The theme of the carnival was ‘Bondi Rescue’. Marcia and I went shopping and picked out the perfect outfit and dressed up like our favourite Australian life-saving team. We were also able to model our stunning sun safe blue polo shirts, long black board shorts and zinc on our cheeks in front of the house. We were able to show the little munchkins that dressing up and participating was actually as cool and as fun as it looks!
It was then time to teach the little squirts how to bellow our war cry. After a few practice runs, they were nailing it and sounding fantastic.
This was followed by a weeks worth of lunch times that Marcia, Greg, myself and a handful of other volunteers spent in the schools art room preparing props such as banners and spray painting our house slogan on shirts for the entire house to wear. Marcia, Greg and I were given the more creative task of creating the prop surfboard. We were pushed for time, but we are the dynamic trio and when put together can achieve anything.
Greg donated the surfboard and without wasting any time we got right into decorating it. We had two lunch breaks to complete this task, so the clock was against us.
In our first break we began spray painting the board and left it out in the sun until the next break to dry. This would have been a great idea if we had remembered to remove the wax off the board. We came back the next lunch break to find that not only had the wax melt off but it decided to take the spray paint with it.
40 minuets left and back to square one. We had to work smart. We got out the paint and had all six of our hands on deck frantically painting. Our heart rates increased with every second that our time decreased.
Finally, with 10 minuets to spare we had our board painted, drying and looking fabulous. We had enough time to decorate the board with the official house slogan, sign our names on the board (like all good artists sign their work) and take a pic for instagram to document this momentous moment in history. After a group hug and we had finally stopped shedding joyous tears of pride and began to fill our hearts with excitement and school pride for the day that would follow.
I arrived at the pool at seven-thirty in the morning to help set up. I was bestowed with the extremely important duty of blowing up balloons and setting up streamers, every bit counts. Greg, Marcia and I, looking stunning as always in our costume, set up our surfboard and prepared for the day ahead.
We were packed like sardines under the little tent that was decked-out with my decorative streamers and balloons. The rain wasn’t on our side the previous night as it had left the ground all muddy, but surprisingly we didn’t care.
The house chanted the war cry with pride and we ended up winning the war-cry competition against the other of the houses! We screamed and cheer with pride. This put us on a high for the rest of the day and lifted our spirits. Our house had never won a swimming carnival war cry before; it had always been awarded to other houses, yet the one that we had written won! This gave us a 40-point boost and granted us the honour of starting the carnival in the lead.
The rest of the day was spent rallying up all of the youngsters and making sure they were at each of their races. Each time a kid swims from one end of the pool to the other, the house gets a point with bonus points for coming 1st 2nd and 3rd. We were determined to be the house to end on the most points.
Due to my previous hatred to swimming carnivals, I felt sympathetic towards the kids that felt anxious to get in the pool, but I also had a newfound understanding as to why the seniors were so determined to get me in that pool. I felt this put me in the best position to help get as many people in the pool as possible. What was my technique you might ask? Simple. Bribe them with lollies. Did it work? You betcha!
I ended up going in two ‘all in’ races, which consist of me and some other girls from my house doggy-paddling in the same lane to the other side of the pool, splashing and giggling like the schoolgirls we are. The whole day was much more fun for me when we took out the competitive swimming component of the day and just focused of enjoying ourselves.
Just before our final race (if you can even call it a ‘race’), one of my favourite teachers (who to protect the wonderful, I will call Professor Dumbledore) sat us down and gave us an inspiring speech reminding us that this was to be our first last of our senior year. This final swim was the last time we would ever have to (or be able to, depending on how you feel about swimming carnivals) get into that pool and swim to the other side. Of course you will be able to come back and swim on your own, but not with all these people and certainly not with this same atmosphere. He urged us to make sure that we enjoyed every second of it. We all got in the pool together and make our way to the other side. It was truly a moment I will never forget.
The points were too close to call and spirits were high. United as a house, we huddled together and listened as awards were presented to those who are the best swimmers for their age. Finally, it was the moment of truth, which house had accumulated the most points and won the day?
Fourth place? Not us. Third Place? Not us.
The house huddled together. We were squeezing each others hands. The suspense was high.
First place? US!!!
Everything in my brain turned into slow motion. It was like a scene out of a movie. Marcia, Greg and I screamed and hugged each other while jumping up and down. The house captains run up and collected the house trophy.
Greg turned to the rest of the house and began to roar the chant one last time.
All of our hard work had paid off!
It was the first time our house had won a war cry, a carnival and the first last of my senior year.