I had the opportunity today to spend the day at my nephew’s wrestling tournament. Andrew and Ryan wrestle November thru June and play football July thru November. Today was a new experience for me and I learned a little about wrestling but was amazed at the life lessons I saw unfold before my eyes today.
I learned that in wrestling…
there is always a winner and a loser….
time and time and time again I realized that there is really no one else to give credit to for the win or the loss when it is just you and your opponent on the mat. It is clear that in the next 1.5 to 7 minutes, either you will win or lose….
there is often loud celebration….
this crowd (I would guess in many wrestling crowds) is intense. They celebrate big and cheer loud when it is one of their own whose arm is raised to “announce” the winner to the crowd.
there is often many tears shed…
I watched scrappy small lads and big husky growing-up boys dissolve to tears. Some of these scenes included expressions of anger and a few choice words and some were met at the edge of the mat by a parent or a coach and embraced in a hug. Either way learning how to handle deep disappointment was evident.
there is an invitation and expectation to good sportsmanship…
from the beginning handshake to the closing handshake before the winner is “announced” to the crowd, to the shaking hands of your opponents coaches, this sport calls for you to stay engaged with your world. This sport ensures no storming off in anger or hiding in shame, or allowing arrogance to take over. I witnessed referee’s and coaches calling kids back to the mat if their emotions took over and these important exchanges were missed.
there is a community in wrestling
that is admirable and fosters good friendships in people of all ages. I had a great talk with Andrew today (who is out due to injury) about how he has been able to step up and mentor the younger wrestlers while his knee heals. I see parents who have been at the tournament all day choose to stay a little longer to support a teammate. I hear of gatherings with families that occur outside of the required events. Perhaps most touching, I watched hugs, tears, shouts of support and encouragement and listened to parents reflect with one another, not just about this season, but about years past and the hopes they have for the years to come. This community is one that sticks together!
I am sure there are many other good things that come from committing yourself to wrestling but this is just a reflection on a bit of what I was impacted by today. I admire Andrew and Ryan even more now as I see what they commit themselves to in every practice and every meet. I appreciate Nick and Jonna and all they sacrifice to make this possible for their sons. I respect the coaches and the people who comprise the community in Oak Park and in other similar cities.
I love it when I think I am going to a day of something ordinary and learn about the extra ordinary!