Day 56: Sophie Watkins



“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ William Faulkner


At a meet two years ago. I love this girl and am SO proud of her.

At a meet two years ago. I love this girl and am SO proud of her.

Dear Sophie,

Everyone dreams of a day as you have today. If they say different, it’s just not true. I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for anyone who’s never dreamed of a championship.

Today is the day you claim that prize. The Arkansas High School State Swim Championships. In just a few hours we’re on the road.

Back yard practice. Sophia's first year of competitive swimming seven years ago, I think.

Back yard practice. Sophie’s first year of competitive swimming seven years ago, I think.

It seems just yesterday we were coaxing you into the water with your “floatie wings.” They didn’t last long for you were a natural. At 7, you had us timing your laps in the back yard. At 15, you’re a freshman headed to the state championship. I have a feeling we’ll be back again, but let’s bring this one home just for good times.

You’re a remarkable person, Soph. Every molecule in my old worn out athlete’s body emanates pride with who you’ve become.

You’re a committed Christ follower with a servant’s heart. A scholar student. A self-motivated, over-achieving athlete with amazing drive. And you’re the kind of person everyone wants to be around – a friend’s friend. I love that about you so much.

Sophie and her friend, ????

Sophie and her friend, Maggie.

Just a few days ago I wrote you this, but it seems a good moment to repeat. The world is a crazy place right now. It needs more people like you. You’re here for a reason, and you’re going to change the world. I’m sure of it. I declare it.

Every moment of your competition is a thrill and I watch every second. But the moments I most enjoy are those just before it’s time to step to the platform. Showtime. Time to light the candle. Go time.

There’s not an ounce of anxiety on your face. No pressure, no nerves, all business. But when that body hits the water, you unleash the power. I feel sorry for the competition. I really do. Not really. Haha.

Look at that form off the platform. She's a very fast starter.

Look at that long form off the platform. She’s a  fast, powerful starter. Not even in the water and the competition is already beaten.

The thrill of victory is oh, so sweet. I want you to savor every moment today. You’re in elite company, the best of the best in the state. Unleash a fury for 28 or 29 seconds today. You’ve got this. Take it.

It’s a privilege to be your Dad. Thank you for bringing me along on this glorious ride … and I’m not talking about athletics. I’m talking about you. I love you all there is.

Now, let’s bring home a ring.

Your cheerleader for life,




2 thoughts on “Day 56: Sophie Watkins

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