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!
3 thoughts on “A wrestling tribute…”
My cousins boys are wrestler too we enjoy following them so much! It is a nicely run sport as far as we can tell. The oldest now wrestles for Illinois State. They are the Morse Force from Lowell. Jackson, Andrew and Gabe. The two younger ones took first today in their tournament. Jackson was number one in the USA last year in his weight class. Yes I’m bragging! But it is impressive to see how wonderful they all conduct themselves.
Trish, you nailed just about everything I love about the sport. More than any other sport I have been involved in (playing or coaching,) wrestling is a family. When Ryan lost yesterday, his teammate family surrounded him in the bleachers until he felt a little better. They all understand the deeply personal experience that is taking the mat alone, shaking hands with your opponent, engaging in brutal hand to hand combat, then shaking hands again. And they all genuinely want the most for each other.
In contrast, football takes 11 people working together (which is also incredible) but it seems in football someone is always complaining about how somebody else on the field blew it. In wrestling there is no one else. Wrestlers need to own personal accountability to succeed. That is a skill that will positively impact every aspect of the rest of their lives.
I am so glad you guys came to the meet and I love it that you saw the things that make the sport so amazing! Thank you for putting your impressioons into words and including them in your blog!
Jonna (Andrew and Ryan’s mom, wrestling mom and wrestling coach in training)
Andrew and Ry taught me everything I know about football. I didn’t get it at all until we went to watch them in Texas. Love those boys!