Published January 27, 2013
Kids aren't the only ones who have to toughen up for junior wrestling
Weve survived numerous dance recitals, horse exhibitions, youth soccer and T-ball games. But I dont think anything could have prepared us for the world of junior wrestling.First, some background: My husband didnt know anything about wrestling because he was more of a baseball/soccer/track type of athlete. And everything I knew about the sport was from the viewpoint of a cheerleader nearly 20 years ago, which turned out to be about as relevant as my old uniform and pompoms.But its an activity that came naturally to our boys, ages 5 and 7. I think thats because theyve been training for it their entire lives.Our oldest has the whole I need to prove that Im the strongest and in charge if something happens to dad attitude. Meanwhile, our youngest owns the I have a lot of pent up aggression and you had better not treat me like Im a baby -- unless I want you to viewpoint.Mix in their astrological signs one is a Capricorn goat and the other is a Taurus bull and, well, lets just say theres a whole lot of king-of-the-mountain type activity that takes place in our living room on a regular basis.Weve never let them do any of the professional wrestling or ultimate fighting moves that they may have heard about from their friends (we dont watch that stuff on TV). But we gave up years ago on the notion that brothers who were two years apart could live under the same roof without some type of roughhousing. Even when they are acting like best friends, they always seem to be participating in brotherly feats of strength.As a spectator, I think wrestling is an absolutely thrilling sport to watch. Its about strength, strategy and determination.Its the classic battle of man versus man or in some cases man versus woman. And its intense: Wrestlers spend several hours each week training for something that can be over within a matter of seconds.As a mom, I learned that it also can be a terrifying sport to watch.Our oldest son was put into an illegal hold and had a nosebleed while wrestling in his first tournament.About two weeks later, at a different tournament, our youngest son was pulled head first on a mat so hard, the referee stopped the match to make sure he was OK. It took him a few minutes to stop crying.To be honest, Im not sure how I watched either of those events without throwing up or passing out. And both of my boys ended up winning those matches, which were against kids who were stronger and more experienced than they were.Looking back, I now realize that the boys firsts couple of tournaments were extremely well organized. But as a newbie, they seemed overwhelming and chaotic. I didnt expect for there to be so much hurry up and wait, and hurry up even faster because your kids group is actually supposed to be on the other side of the gym.I tried to pay attention to our talented coaches at practice, but I think I learned the most about the sport from watching other wrestling moms.They wore sweatshirts with their kids team logos on the front, which turns out to make quite the statement when an entire team and their families are sitting together at a tournament. They insisted on breakfasts that contained sausage or bacon simply for the sake of protein. Wrestlers need food that will give them energy and strength, and that will stick with them for a long period of time. And wrestling moms, like their sons and daughters, were tough, too. When their kids got hurt on the mat, they didnt freak out.They made sure their kid was all right, put on a brave smile and said, Its going to be OK, now get back in there.