Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sadly wonderful...

"Wow!" That was my wife's reaction when we pulled up to La Jolla Cove last night. I had heard from one of my clients there was going to be a memorial swim, (so to speak), for Jim McCann, at the usual Friday night club swim. It hadn't been advertised, or communicated on the tri club board, so I thought it was just going to be a small thing, but boy were we mistaken.

I figured I would show up and swim easy with some people, my first activity since the race. We pulled up, and the grassy area was PACKED with people. I had never seen it this crowded on a general Friday evening. I almost wondered if there was another event going on. But no, this was the underground, memorial event.

Some people said a few things, and then lead the memorial swim, with a wreath to send out in the water. We swam out to the 1/4 mile buoy, nearly 200 people strong, and formed a circle. We had a moment of silence, and ironically, in that silence there were a few seals howling about a 100 yards away from us. It was rather symbolic. Otherwise, we just floated there, looking at the wreath, feeling the waves push us up and down. I had a few memories and images of Jim float thru my mind.

In typical Bob Babbit style, he also lead a moment of NOISE, knowing Jim would have been more about having fun and making noise being the water, enjoying ourselves.

Afterward, I swam to the 1/2 mile buoy with some folks, then back to the Cove, for a mile total. I put some warm clothes on, and headed for the food table. It was quite busy. So many people.

It was a very odd evening. Everyone enjoying each other's company, talking, discussing races. I was approached by so many people about my race last weekend, and wanting to hear more about the bee sting, it was almost funny. There we were, enjoying the sport and the social, life-style aspects of it which Jim wanted to share so badly with everyone, and yet we all seemed to have this sad energy about us. We love our sport, the people, the social gatherings and functions, but sadly it took the death of someone we all loved to recognize that even more.

It was sadly wonderful. Everyone smiling and laughing, while dealing with this tragedy. It may be this way for awhile, but that's the healing process I guess.

I had some discussions with Babbit, and told him I don't envy the person who takes over for Jim as President of the Tri Club. Only because he gave soo much of himself, and made it work so well. He was selfless, and ran nearly everything himself. He did so much on his own to make it run so well, and have the growth that it did. It will be hard to match his commitment level. He was truly a special person in that sense.

I gave Dee Dee a hug as I was leaving, and gave her my best. She's such a strong soul.

Sadly, it was a wonderful evening.

Vance - 2007 NFA

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