For the past two days, I had the honor of serving as judge and referee of the 2009 Private Pool Swim League (PPSL) Diving Championships. The PPSL is one of the best sources for new diving talent anywhere and some of the best divers in the United States over the past 25 years got their start in the PPSL.
This year was no different -- there was a multitude of diving talent in this meet and there were coaches from each of the four diving programs in the area at the meet scouting for new talent for their diving teams and programs.
I am always pleased to see a large number of my former divers who are giving back to the sport of diving. Serving as coaches, judges, table workers, etc. -- selfishly speaking -- it is very humbling to think that they are still involved with diving because of their experiences with diving when i coaches them. The judging panel for this meet was excellent and they did a great job! The judges were Mike Grappner, Jenny (Chasteen) Fleming, Jenny (Huber) Rehberger and Andrew Campbell. Every one of them except Mike Grappner, were former divers of mine.
I would be remiss without saying that the only thing that was disappointing about this meet was the incredibly low number of spectators and "diving fans" at the end of meet. The team that ended up winning the 2009 PPSL Champ Meet (Madeira Swim Club / coached by a former diver of mine -- Elena Schaible) pulled quite an upset. Elena has been coaching summer league diving for 15 years and has come close to winning -- finishing 2nd a couple times -- but this year finally put it all together to win the Champ Meet. I was very proud of her -- especially for all the determination, effort and work she has put in over the past 15 years. The disappointment I felt was the fact that the ONLY people from the winning team that were present at the end of the meet when they announced the final team scores and presented the Team Champion Trophy was the diver from her team who competed in the final event and her parents.
Where were the rest of the divers from the winning team? Where were the divers from the other teams that were jockeying for the team title? They HAD to know their team was on the verge of winning the Champ Meet -- they posted updated team scores at the completion of each event! Why didn't the parents and divers of these teams stay to watch the last few events? Why didn't they stay to support their team? Why didn't the kids who dove in yesterday's events come back to cheer on their team and be a part of the Championships Presentation today? They sure missed a golden opportunity to be a part of local diving history.
I would be lying if I did not say that I am disappointed in the parents and divers of today. It seems to me that most divers (kids) today simply do their thing (event) and then take off to do their next thing -- disregarding their TEAM. It is sad but I feel that it is a sign of the times. I can recall a time when the entire team (even those who were NOT diving in the Champ Meet) would show up at the Champ Meet, faces painted, cheering wildly for THEIR TEAM. In the "good ole days" -- the pool would have been packed with spectators; the energy and electricity could be felt throughout the pool and the celebrations would be spectacular when the final results were announced. Not so much these days.
Congratulations Coach Elena Schaible and the Madeira Swim Club Diving Team for winning the 2009 PPSL Diving Championships. Congratulations as well to all the divers and all the coaches who participated in this Champ Meet. See you again next season!