Share Your Story: Merritt Adams
My greatest memory of Big Ten competition was the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. Every year, we would arrive and find purple baskets and purple gifts from our swim parents. You wonder where a group of people could find so much purple gear.
As we left the hotel in the early morning for our bus ride to prelims, a line of purple and screaming parents would be there cheering us on. At the swim meet, again these same purple-clad fans would be joined by 20 of our teammates and two or more coaches screaming in hopes to put people in the finals or simply to achieve a goal.
But it gets better, because after a great lunch, a good nap and a review of the morning, it was time to do it all again. This time those purple screaming fans met beforehand and coordinated their purple attack. So as we packed up for the bus again for the evening session, the onslaught of silly string (purple of course), cheers and high fives would fill the chilly air. You knew it was going to be an exciting night.
As warm-ups concluded and finals began, the cheers of the parents began roaring, as they were there to battle the other parents from rival teams. It definitely didn't matter who won in the pool - the battle of spirit and who could have more fun was more important. My goal was always to find the parent with the best costume. Could you even recognize your parent?
Finally, my senior year we realized we should capitalize on our rowdy parental units. So in true Wildcat fashion, we created a joint cheer with the parents. You could see the excitement on their faces as we got ready to unleash the cheer, you could still see the anticipation on their faces when we started it, and those faces remained even through their cue to cheer. Eventually, we got it down. It was an amazing feeling to be standing behind the block when your name was called and hear a roar of fans all cheering for you. It wasn't so much about the winning or losing, it was how much fun you could have!