Great Day to Be Alive

Every young swimmer faces a hard time when they start the dreaded morning practices. The alarm starts ringing early, and life seems to be lived in the dark. When I was fourteen I was moved to the senior group of my home swim club, FAST. This meant that Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I was in the water at 5:30 am sharp.

To be in the water by 5:30 I had to get to the pool by 5:15 which meant getting up at 4:50 to eat. Needless to say it was a hard adjustment for fourteen-year-old me. Getting up wasn’t even the worst part. It was going straight to school from the pool that did me in. Out of the pool at 6:50 we had to be at school by 7:30, which meant leaving the pool at 7:10. With the day entirely planned out we had just enough time for the highlight of the mornings. A warm, almost loving, shower. For a while we would just shower, and watch our time wind down before we had to go make it through school, then come back for another practice. Then country music changed everything.

Armed with a water proof speaker, we were now ready to beat the day. There were about ten of us that would really listen to the music coming out of the speaker, and we had ten different opinions about what should be coming out of the speaker.

Each and every one of the swimmers in the men’s locker room would hear a song and say “NO, NO, NO! We can’t listen to this to start the day! I am not going to have Katy Perry in my head all day.” This constant bickering lead to the demise of our beloved speaker. It stayed away for about a week when two juniors on the team, Jason and Austin, walked in the locker room with the speaker proudly above their heads, and grins stretching across their faces.

These two guys had found a song, so perfect, so right for the start of the day, and so easy to sign along to it would reunite the ten of us in the showers. Hounded with questions they said nothing except “Listen up”

Travis Tritt’s  twangy voice rolled smoothly out of the speaker as he sang “I’ve got some rice cookin’ in the microwave.” The entire locker room audience was hooked as his voice boomed in singing “and im doing all right, and it’s a great DAYYY to be alive.” The coming weeks this song about each day being great was a staple of our locker room listening diet.

10483372_857640514265683_524370407_nI still believe that we liked this song because we could all relate to what he was saying. Even if none of us made homemade stew, or had three day beards that need shaving, we all knew what it was like to be a little down… We were at morning practice for gosh sakes. No matter how down we would get about a hard practice, or a mountain of homework waiting at home we would always know that it was a great day to be alive.

This one song brought us together and it turned into a way of cheering up a friend who was down. If a teammate was obviously upset, all it would take to bring up their spirits was simply saying “Hey man, it’s a great day to be alive.” This had our team sitting as happy as could be.

As Jason and Austin Graduated, we listened to less and less of Travis Tritt in the locker room. He faded away just as Tritt’s voice does in the singing of this song.  Even though “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive,” was no longer a fan favorite at the pool, it’s message would be something that never leaves my mind, and I think that’s something only county music can do to its listeners.


Filed under Blog Post 2

18 Responses to Great Day to Be Alive

  1. Katerina Biancardi

    Solid Post, Max! I loved this. You did an excellent job of really painting a visual of what it was like to be a swimmer, and helped me understand when it came to the point of talking about the song I was like “ah hah” here is where the country music comes in to play. Also it reminded me about how when I played varsity soccer the playlist of music we had always mattered because it would be stuck in our heads all day!!! I think yall had a great attitude about morning practices and how the song really put yall in a good mood for the day. Also, the team picture made me laugh out loud. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  2. Adrian Ortiz

    Great post Max! I really enjoyed reading through your post, as it was easy for me to related to it in certain aspects. I personally know the struggle that morning practice is, although 5:30 am is a little bit worse than what I am used to. So for the short period of time that we have to shower and get ready for school, we like to listen to music to bring up our spirits as well. It was nice to read that country music had such a big impact on you and your teammates and that it helped you guys to get through tough days.

  3. Paige Hinkle

    I can definitely relate to this post! One of my best friends and I thought the lyric “I got rice cooking in the microwave” was hilarious and it was one of our inside jokes. The song really does have a funny, but pleasant feel to it and I can see why you would want to listen to it to start your day. The song is also very fun to sing and I could see how even non-country music fans wouldn’t mind listening to the song. It has a simple, but powerful message that really can make you feel like it is a great day to be alive.

  4. Olivia English

    Great post, Max! I loved the way that you started out focusing on swimming and then snuck in “Then country music changed everything” – I was excited to keep reading. I can totally relate to this song being such a pick-me-up, whether it’s to wake someone up and keep positive in the morning or just to lift someone up who is having a bad day. I was on my high school’s ski team, so I definitely know the pain of waking up at 5am for early practices (or bus rides to the mountain for a 7am race). I wish I had thought to listen to such an awesome song to wake the team up and get excited for the day! Tritt really does a great job of reminding listeners that every day should be a great day to be alive.

  5. Max, very interesting article. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to wake up before 5 AM three days a week. That must have taken a lot of hard work and dedication to the sport of swimming. It can be tough to find a song that everyone likes to listen to in the locker room. During high school my teammates and I would constantly argue over what song we would listen to before practice. The song “Great day to be alive” is a classic and can put everyone in a great mood. Its good to hear that y’all were able to find a song everyone liked and helped create a positive outlook.

  6. Joseph Schooling

    Nice read, Max! While I wouldn’t consider listening to a song titled “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” at 5 AM, I’m glad you found a song that would get you through the morning when you were young. I need to adopt your mindset and mentality towards morning practices because well… you’ve seen me at morning practices. I’m very proud of what you have achieved this past week in Atlanta. You’ve come a long, long way since you’ve stepped onto campus 9 months ago, and it’s truly been a joy seeing you grown in the past year. You’ve exceeded my expectations in and out of the pool, and I want you to know you’ve got a bright future ahead. Keep it up!

  7. Kevin Lefkowitz

    Great post, Max! It was really interesting to read about how your team decided to listen to “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive.” Although it is a pretty catchy song and probably did get stuck in your head, I bet it was the least bad option of songs you’d allow to get stuck in your head. This post reminded me of morning baseball practices, but we never listened to country to “wake up.” We tended to listen to pump-up rap, but maybe we should have listened to inspirational country songs. In high school sports, players often feel overworked or overstressed, so “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” was probably a good song to keep everything in perspective.

  8. Shira Yoram

    I really liked the story you told in your blog post. It was interesting to read about how your swim team came together and agreed on a great country song to jam out to in your locker room. “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” is also such a good song for cheering someone up like you mentioned. I know that when the rare times this song plays on the radio, I instantly get in a better mood. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to wake up that early for so many days of the week. That is why your team mates truly picked the best song for y’all to hear in the mornings to help you get through the day.

  9. Julie Kleberg

    Great post! you really mapped out what this song means to you in an engaging and organized way. It’s hard not to love this song becuause it is so optimistic and enthusiastic. I can see why it was your song of choice to get your day started so early in the morning. You probably needed a little pick me up like this one. Travis Tritt has some other great songs that you should check out as well because this isn’t his only hidden gem. I’m glad to know i’m no the only one that belts this out when you feel like listening to an uplifting song. Great post overall!

  10. Lottie Glazer

    Really loved this post! It just so happens that I just got home from driving back from Dallas. While stuck in a major traffic jam in Temple, I was starting to get a little tired and this song came on. It definitely perked me up for the next hour and a half drive that I had left. I wish I had thought of this song when I was in high school and had to wake up at the same time to work during football two-a-days in the summer. I definitely can not imagine doing it and then having to go to school after so props to you.

  11. Timothy Harakal

    First of all, I am simply amazed at your routine. Being able to wake up at 4:50 am several times a week…as a young teenager? Impressive. I have no idea how you managed such an intense schedule like that back then, but as with anything, I’m sure it was something you got used to. Also, I like how you wrote your post to show how music brings people together. Everybody can have such completely different tastes in music that trying to get 10 people to agree on a song seems nearly impossible, but I’m glad y’all finally found one as bright and as cheery as that one by Travis Tritt! It’s so cool how music really can bring people together.

  12. Drew Scherger

    I think it’s great that your swim team was able to find a song that united you all through those early morning practices. I joined the swim team freshman year of high school but soon found out that waking up early didn’t agree with me. I think that it’s great that you were able to power through that though and that music helped you accomplish it in a way. I also thought it was cool that although you didn’t really listen to that particular song in the following years, the message still stayed with you throughout highschool and college through the lyrics.

  13. Tyler King

    Great article Max! That song is a classic to me and I can see how this is something that can get you through those tough mornings. This is a song that any student athlete can relate to in my mind, especially collegiate student athletes. This can really get you through a tough day and this is one of my favorite pick me up songs. As a former athlete myself, I understand that at times things are just so tough you need a song like this, and I’ve got to say this is probably one of the best options.

  14. Congratulations on the big win this weekend. How appropriate that this post was the cover of our class website while the UT team was cleaning up at Nationals.

  15. Erin McWilliams

    I’m not a listener of Travis Tritt, but I love that you had a feel good song that became your swim team anthem. It’s funny how country music has so many people that hate it, yet when it comes time to compromise on listening music, it seems that country is always what ends up being played. The most relevant situation like this is a team of some sorts because music is the only way to make the pain of practice manageable, haha. I love that something as simple as a song can unite so many people–I’m sure when artists release their music they never assume that it can become an anthem of sorts!

  16. Cassidy Wilson

    Wow, I really liked reading this post. The way you told your story made me eager for what was going to happen next. The song “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” has such an awesome meaning and now even better memories tied to it for you. I used to have to get up at 4:45 AM for 5Am Spring Conditioning when I played volleyball my first year of college, so I know how important those song choices really are. I am really glad y’all found that song and made it stick. Great post!

  17. Laura Morales

    This was such a really cool post to read! I did not realize how early someone had to wake up for practice, and how much a song’s quality can be really influential in raising your mood up, especially for an early practice! It’s also really interesting to see that the song that you all chose was a country song. It may just be because this song is easy to listen to and the lyrics are pretty great. And just like you said, no matter how hard things got you were all thankful that it was great day to be alive!

  18. Lee Allen

    You took this blog post and turned it into a story, which is an awesome change of tempo for all of the posts we read weekly! Waking up early is never a fun thing, especially not when it’s for a rigorous sport, but you gotta do what you gotta do! It’s awesome that this song and artist made an even deeper connection between what had to be a tightly knitted group of guys. It’s a great song to put things into perspective, that every day is a great day to be alive; it gives someone waking up at 4:30 something to help keep their head up. Great post!

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