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THE IMPATIENCE OF MRS. JOB
Roy Blount Jr.
August 24, 1970
As a coach who doubled as a mother, Mary Job made her four kids do laps and laps and laps and sleep and sleep and sleep until each one of them became a champion
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August 24, 1970

The Impatience Of Mrs. Job

As a coach who doubled as a mother, Mary Job made her four kids do laps and laps and laps and sleep and sleep and sleep until each one of them became a champion

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George Haines says, "Most breast-strokers are psycho about their stroke. They're always worrying about their rhythm, and when it gets off you'll work with them and they won't change, but they'll think they've changed. But if Brian's rhythm gets off he can work on it and get it right back. Because he's not just swimming-oriented. He's got other things on his mind. Some guys just swim and eat and come back and swim again. They don't think about anything but swimming and they get psycho. But Brian's got other things on his mind.

"He's a great kid. He does push-ups and knee bends on his own. You can't make a kid do that. That takes dedication. Every time you look at him he's talking about something else besides swimming. The other day he was quoted as saying he's been tired of swimming since he was 7, but I can't believe it. He always looks like he's enjoying it."

"There's always a fear," says Brian. "You know you're not going to die, but you know that if you swim a fast time it will hurt so much, and you're afraid of that. But I guess my body has just been conditioned to it.

"I always hated to have somebody right next to me, keeping right up with me, and I used to work to where I could stay way out in front of everybody. But there would always be somebody else keeping up. So I would progress in stages.

"My breaststroke today is exactly the same stroke my mom taught me back in the lake. I had to have different training later, but no coach has ever touched my stroke.

"I hated my mom. I can remember lying on my bed and wondering how God could be so mean as to give me a mom like her. All the other kids had nice moms, I thought, why should I have her?

"I hated swimming. I mean, I know I don't hate my mom. She's a smart woman, she's taught us a lot of things that have been valuable—ways to memorize things, ways to practice. When I got a little older I'd start thinking, 'What would I do if I were a parent?' and I realized it must be hard. But if I had to do it all over again.... And as to whether I'll want my children to swim, I don't know. I don't think so."

On the other hand, let it be noted that in the Jobs' scrapbook, amongst the Mother's Day cards and the graduation programs and "a lock of Grandma Roost's hair, 80 years old" (she is the one who wanted to be the opera singer), there is a recent newspaper clipping in which Brian is quoted as saying, "The whole race went just like I planned it. About halfway through I said to myself, 'Hey, you feel good, you feel good,' and I did."

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