Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When Timing is Everything

July 28th, 2010

This past weekend, the Florida State Swimming Championships were held in our state-of-the-art swimming facility here, in Sarasota. My youngest teenage daughter holds a passion for swimming, and as parent of several swimming competitors, and one who is a 20 year veteran of timing at meets, I always sign up to time at the competitions. During the timers’ meeting, the head official asked if there were any new timers; my lane partner who was new to timing, smiled and said: “Yes, but I am with an old timer.”

Last week’s Coach Poppy Newsletter gave voice to humor and teamwork, and so with humor on my mindful “old timer” brain, we approached our lane, prepared to time. I explained that we really needed to be on our toes, to stop, start, and clear our watches with speed and efficiency. “And just for fun,” I said, “Let’s see if and/or how many times we can sync our watches to the 1/100th of a second.”

For years, I always got a little thrill when the 4 or 5 numbers read exactly the same on our watches. It always felt like the purest act of synchronicity. My past record of synced moments during a meet, was 4 times: that means 4 times, my lane partner and I had the exact time on our respective watches; this feels so much better than Bingo!

This particular act of synchronicity gave me pause to consider what goes into place in order to achieve such seamless perfection: timing, yes; yet what about other elements? Does my focus matter? Does mindfulness come into play? Does agility and dexterity factor in? A competitive spirit – the “game on” or little dare of having a playful challenge? And what about desired outcomes?

And the fun timing challenge my lane partner and I set up on Sunday got me to thinking about the inspiration for the Coach Poppy newsletter. What is it about the combination of timing, focus, mindfulness, sharpened senses, desired results, and playful challenge that shape our daily experiences? When these qualities are all heightened and engaged, aren’t we unbelievably in lockstep with all that is around us? I believe we are.

Our focus, sharp senses, and mindfulness was especially essential as we were timing in one of the center lanes where the swimmers with the fastest times compete, and where one 1/100th of a second is a deal breaker between first and second place. The playful challenge and desired outcome served to soften the energy of intensity that permeated the gorgeous long course pool.

When all of our sense are heightened and locked in, imagine what we can do? On Sunday, in Lane 5, my new lane timer and I synced our watches with the exact time to the 1/100th of a second, TWELVE (12) TIMES! A dozen times, we had the precise reading on our respective watches. That’s unheard of; seemingly impossible!

Perhaps it was the excitement of a large competition, where excellence, focused individuals, and team spirit surrounded us. The atmosphere was replete with personal bests from all over, so maybe the air was filled with incredible possibilities, and in addition to the chlorinated water that continually drenched us, some of the magic of timing and synchronicity also sprinkled around us.

What can we do in the next week to blow our perceived capabilities out of the water? More importantly, let me hear from you: what can we do to line up a seamless blend of mindfulness, focus, and a shoot-for-the-moon intention, in the hopes that we achieve our personal best time?

Mindfully Yours,


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