Everyone knows we are a big swim family. We’ve done lots of baseball and basketball and cross country and track. We’ve done karate and we’ve done lacrosse and soccer.
This year we added wrestling into the mix.
Wrestling is new territory.
And it’s no joke.
I went to Lehigh University, and they have — or at least they did when I went there — a pretty strong wrestling program.
I was friends with a couple wrestlers in my dorm my freshman year.
They could do stuff that was pretty impressive.
Like this one guy in my dorm could literally just bend over and puke.
At the time I thought it was pretty impressive.
Now that I think about it, it’s pretty nasty.
Anyway, when the wrestlers got injured, they’d often train in the pool and “run” in the water, and sometimes they’d swim.
I remember once one of my friends said to me, “Whoa. That’s hard. How many laps to do you guys do at practice? Like twenty?”
Because an average practice was anywhere from 240 – 350 laps.
Swimming and wrestling are a different kind of hard.
But there are actually quite a few similarities between wrestling and swimming.
Both are extremely demanding.
Both require a lot of mental and physical toughness.
Both require you to move out of your comfort zone.
Wrestling meets and swim meets both have very similar formats.
And both are, in my opinion, a great way to prepare for life.
This is why I love sports so much.
I love the competition and the pushing yourself and the goal setting, but mostly I love that they are tools that prepare you for all the ups and downs that life is gonna throw at you.
They are really just vehicles to help you become a better human being.
So four of the kids are pretty serious swimmers and then there is Number 6.
He tried a season of swimming, but he really didn’t enjoy it.
So that was it.
And I’ve been hoping he would find his thing.
He’s played a couple seasons of baseball.
He likes baseball.
He doesn’t love it, though.
HE LOVES IT.
And he was super excited for his very first meet last night.
It was a small dual meet against another town. A perfect meet for a beginner.
Number 6 is a crier when he gets emotional.
Whether he’s sad or angry or frustrated or scared or annoyed or tired or nervous or unsure, he cries.
So I was not sure how he’d handle his first wrestling meet.
There was no crying. Only excitement.
I don’t know anything about wrestling yet, but when I watched him wrestle, he looked like he was doing pretty good.
Really good, actually.
He had three, 1-minute periods.
After the first period he was winning.
Halfway through the second period, the score was tied.
And that’s when the frustration set in.
Number 6 was cry-wrestling.
Let me tell you, that shit is hard to watch as a mom.
I wanted to go give him a hug or do something to make him feel better.
You know, that rescue instinct kicked right in again.
He was silently sobbing as he got ready to begin the 3rd period.
Or whatever you call them.
I cheered him on and told him he was tough and that he was doing great.
And he was doing great.
Especially for his first time ever.
He got pinned at the very end of the third period and he lost 9-5.
He came off the mat, sobbing.
After he talked to his coach, he came over to me.
“Mommy, I SUCK AT WRESTLING,” he said, through sobs.
“I’M NEVER WRESTLING AGAIN!”
I assured him he didn’t suck. That he did great, especially for his first time.
He wasn’t hearing me. He was too emotional.
He’s competitive. And he did not like losing.
This happens at home when he plays any kind of game.
And that’s when I knew that wrestling was going to be a big gift to him.
A teacher. A vehicle for self improvement and mental toughness.
After a little bit he calmed down and went and sat with his team.
He was having fun. The loss was behind him.
Last night as I tucked him into bed, I said, “How’s my little wrestler?”
He said, “You mean your big fat crybaby? I’m the only one who cried today, Mom,” he said.
He wasn’t embarrassed or upset.
It’s not easy to see your kid upset. And it’s not easy to see your kid get thrown around on a wrestling mat.
But I think this sport might be the best thing that ever happens to him.
And I’m looking forward to seeing him evolve, both on and off the mat.