This weekend we entered back into swim team season.
Many places have summer swim league however in the area I grew up in, it was unheard of.
Then we moved to the east side of Houston and that summer there was an exciting buzz around the community about summer swim league. The area we live in was literally filling up with signs about the local teams along the road ways. Our neighbors urged us to check it out because their kids competed for our neighborhood team and loved it.
That’s how our life got turned upside down from April until June. Fast forward three years and we’re back at it again, as if we didn’t learn anything during the first three years.
There’s a certain level of craziness when you’re a swim team parent in our area. There’s bedazzled Tshirts, goggle envy, pep rally’s and if it’s a good year, cooler boat races.
However one thing goes to a whole new level – our neighborhood pool gets turned into a tent city.
Put away the s’mores, I do not mean camping tents.
Every family has a pop up canopy to protect them from the sun and stake claim on an area to hang out in. Everyone calls them tents regardless of the fact that they are really canopies.
So how do you spot a rookie swim team family? First by the saucer size eyes at their first swim meet, their lack of needing a truck to haul everything and most importantly, they don’t have a tent.
Yes… the poor rookies sit in the sun. Usually on a blanket with no chairs and a lunch box size cooler.
Don’t worry – someone always takes them in, feeds them, applies sunscreen to their pale skin and instructs them on the rituals of crazed swim team families.
So how do the crazies survive swim team season in Houston?
It’s all in the tents.
First you need the deluxe version (canopy) tent. Make sure it has wheels on the case to roll it in on and matches the team colors. The faster you can get that baby set up at 6am, the more street cred you have on the swim team.
Next you need a tarp to lay down as a floor. Remember, the goal is to make a mini castle. Castles have floors. Take time to paint tile patterns on your tarp. If you can paint the tile into a mosaic that represents your team mascot, you might stand a chance on the swim team.
Now you need a floor plan. Use a floor planning online service so you can properly fit your reclining zero gravity chairs in your tent along with a table for games or food prep and an air mattress for comfort. Don’t forget to have custom sheets made for the air mattress that match the team mascot (it’s a theme, you’ll catch on).
Don’t forget your cooler (ice chest) either. You need to fill it with a mix of junk food that your kids will actually eat along with the all organic crunchy hipster foods that you want the strangers in the tent next door to think you eat. Offer them lamb shank hummus out loud while secretly grinding Cheetos into a hummus like paste. Don’t forget to serve sandwiches in the shape of your team mascot.
And if you really want to be the envy of the swim team tent city, you’ll need air conditioning. What? It’s outside… at a pool… how do you get air conditioning? One word… generator.
Yes, you’ll see families with fans hooked up to long cords that lead to a generator sitting a few hundred yards away. Hardcore tenters have one fan running. Superstar hardcore tenters have at least two and a rig to feed ice cooled air into the back of the fan. Yes… welcome to Houston where we get a little crazy in the heat.
Really it gets a little nuts but we’ll just blame the heat, the chlorine overdoses and too tight swim caps.
If you need me, I’ll be pricing generators on Amazon.com.
This post contains affiliate links. If you need an idea for a Happy Monday gift for me, I’ll take the generator that you can find under the generators link.