What SAIL Means to Me - 2006 Winner

A Summer Love
Hogan Paschal - GCC

Carrots crunch with energy and enthusiasm.  Bodies glisten with sweat and spirit.  Ribbons reign with recognition and reward.  The sun sets and the water settles.  Another summer Thursday has again played host to anticipation, courage, and character.  Another swim meet has finished.

It is a finished swim meet, yet, it will never end: It lives forever in a collection of many memories.  All the days -- marked by morning and afternoon practices -- and all the races -- marked by START and STOP triggers on a stopwatch - are remembered by the learned discipline, the tough lessons, and the good times of SAIL.  These memories are what SAIL swimming is about - excelling as an individual, while existing integrally as a part of a team.  It is about learning to work, to want, and to win.

SAIL is about life lessons.  It introduces us all to that universal and ultimate competitor - the self.  Success is dependant upon self-motivation and self-discipline.  A personal record is so much more than a fast time - it is the indication of internal triumph.  SAIL teaches us those sublime lessons that will never be forgotten.

SAIL is about summer.  The sun is always shining, the water's always fine.  The friends are always around.  A special spirit is nurtured by SAIL swimming. This spirit leads 11/12 boys to cosmetology - with shaven green Mohawks; and 8-under girls to self-expression - with tattoos, braided hair, and other sorts of graffiti.  It is the spirit heard while leading cheers, or that which is amplified by joining in on them.  SAIL swimming is about catching this energy, which travels through the undeniable roar of teamwork.

The spirit of SAIL extends beyond the breaststroke leg of the Medley Relay.  It extends beyond the crack of a smoking starting pistol, the waterlogged nostrils, and imminent flip turns.  SAIL Swimming is about loaning out goggles in emergency situations.  It is about keeping company during the delays of unexpected thunderstorms.  It is about tight jammers, sopping heat sheets, and endless games of gin rummy.  SAIL swimming is more than six lanes at 25 meters: It is about co-existence. SAIL is - and always will be - remembered by the individual efforts which collect into a higher body of spirit.