My Day as Master of Information

One year my daughter joined a summer swim team.  Now I know a whole lot about a whole lot of sports, but swim team isn’t one of them.  As we began our swim team career, I attempted to try to learn the names and order of events, the rules, and the basic strokes.  But after about six weeks, all I had picked up was that twice a week I was going to stand on a pea-gravel deck that was hotter than the surface of the sun for about four and a half hours to watch my daughter compete for about 38 seconds.

After three years of this, my wife, Sarah saw how much I was enjoying swim team life and signed our daughter up for a club team so we could spend most of our 30s staring at a concrete wall like a bunch of frontal lobotomy victims.  A few weeks into the season, I came home from work one Friday and had the following conversation with Sarah:

SARAH: “Don’t forget we are volunteering at the multi-state regional swim meet tomorrow.  It’s all day.”
SARAH: “Well, if I hadn’t volunteered us we would have to pay the entry fee.”
ERIC: “How much was the entry fee?”
SARAH: “Forty Dollars.”
SARAH: “You’re insane. We’re going.”

So the next day, we loaded up and headed to the indoor swim meet.  There were at least 15 teams there from all over the southeast.  We walked in and got our volunteer assignments.  Sarah was a timer.  I was made Master of Information.  I’m not sure it was an official title, I mean I wasn’t deputized or anything.  But apparently it was my job to answer every question that any of the 2000 people who were at the meet had that day.  Piece of cake. So the meet coordinator gives me the following instructions. “These are the heat sheets.  They are $10.  But there is a misprint on the schedule, so you need to put this revised heat sheet in each one as you sell them.”

That was it.  That’s all they told me.  So I thumbed through the “Heat Sheet.”  It was a 20-page, glossy booklet of advertisements, team rosters, and restaurant coupons.  And in the very middle of the booklet was a list of events in the wrong order and with the wrong times, which my stack of Xerox copies was to replace.

About 15 minutes into my term as Master of Information, I quickly found out I was right.  I didn’t know anything about swim team.  Over the course of the six hours that I was manning the Information Center (plastic folding table), I could not answer a single question anyone had.  Nevertheless, I sold the heat sheets like a champ.  I think there is probably a monthly sales award still down at the natatorium that I forgot to pick up. Finally near the beginning of the second session, a lady who had obviously gotten lost on the way to the meet frantically approached the information desk and we had the following conversation:

FRANTIC, DREADFULLY LATE LADY: “Excuse me, but can you tell me the first AND last name of the Clerk of Course?”
ERIC: “No.”
FRANTIC, DREADFULLY LATE LADY: “Do you know the maximum number of events that any one swimmer can enter?”
ERIC: “No.”
FRANTIC, THOUROUGHLY PERTURBED, DREADFULLY LATE LADY: “Do you know where the boys locker room is?!”
ERIC: “……..No.”
ERIC: “…….Yes, this piece of paper is $10.”

She reached in her purse, gave me $10, and stormed away with her heat sheet.  Finally at the very end of the day, minutes before I was to pass the baton to the next swim team genius, a lady walked up to the desk and said, “We are from Nashville.  Can you tell me if there are any good Mexican restaurants close to here?”

I said, “You’ve come to the right place.”



About ericparkermusic

I'm a tired husband and father who is trusting Jesus to bear fruit in my life.
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