Tag Archives: Wrestling

Confessions of a Wrestling Mom

I didn’t always like wrestling. In fact I might have hated it. I didn’t like any sport, even the sports my son participated in. Oh yes, I’d occasionally attend a wrestling meet or tournament or soccer game or rugby match, and even watched Andrew play basketball a few times, but being raised in a family in which sports was not important, I didn’t like going to any of those events. It meant shrill whistles, or loud buzzers in a smelly gymnasium in the case of basketball and wrestling; or chilly, even rainy weather in sports played outdoors like soccer and rugby. It meant either being ignored by other players’ parents or having to participate in dreaded “small talk” with them.

I didn’t understand the rules of most of the sports, but could figure out the ones that involved a ball. The team had to move that ball from one end of the field to the other and put it through some sort of goal. That way the team would score points. I did not understand wrestling at all. Two kids of similar weight would roll around on the mat while an adult with a striped shirt made strange hand signals. They’d get up sometimes. Sometimes one would get on his hands and knees while the other one put his arm around the opponent’s middle. They’d roll around some more and eventually the time would end and one of the kids would smile and the other would cry, or at least look very sad.

Although Andrew started wrestling in elementary school, I didn’t have any interest in it until he was in high school and was chosen to be on the varsity team. I attended all of his matches that first year and most of the tournaments. I got to know the parents in the bleachers and began to learn what the referee’s hand signals meant. I even learned about scoring. I learned that a take-down was worth 2 points, as was a “reversal”. I learned that if a wrestler held his  opponent in such a way the opponent’s back formed an acute angle with the floor the wrestler doing the holding would get “back points” — the amount depending on how long they held the opponent there. I learned that a pin (or “fall) was worth 6 points, but the match could be over before 3 2-minute periods if one player earned 15 more points than his opponent and that was called a “tech fall”.

That year I also volunteered to redesign and maintain the team’s web site, which helped me learn the rules. I learned the names of the wrestlers and usually went home with throat raw from cheering the players as they “grappled”.

I never expected to love this sport. The bleachers are still uncomfortable — especially after sitting on them for 12 hours or more. The gymnasiums still smell like old socks and are usually far too warm. The buzzers and whistles (and shouting fans) are still loud. All that, often combined with glaring overhead lights, makes for a sensory over-stimulation not often found outside heavy-metal rock concerts. Yet, I love it all — sights, sounds, smells, physical discomfort. It energizes me. I’m proud to be a part of it and proud of our wrestlers and proud of my son.

This weekend we sent 7 of our wrestlers to the state tournament and last night 4 of them placed in the top 6 in their respective weight classes. (Andrew took 4th place)

My son -- 4th best 145 lb wrestler in the state of Maryland

[Please note: Several females wrestle, but I used typically masculine pronouns.]

My Mother, My Self — Part 1

My mother and me 1965
My mother and me 1965

Last night I dreamed I was going to be the 103 lb wrestler for my son’s wrestling team in a tournament. For some reason (the snows perhaps) the rules of who could wrestle for the team were relaxed so that the parent of a wrestler could fill in for another wrestler. Even in the dream I must have realized how wrong this was — and not only because it’s been 10 years since I was 103 lbs — because I reasoned with myself that I was just a filler. There was no way I’d win the match.

Anyway as I was getting ready to leave with Dean and Andrew, my mom walked into the room and said she was going to go too — that she’d missed so many wrestling meets this year.

It is not unusual for my mom to pop up in a dream. When I dream of being at home (meaning my current home) the house is often the house in which I grew up and my mom is always there. She’s often in dreams in which I dream of my husband and children.

I think I’ve known this for a long time, but never wanted to admit it, but when my mom is in those dreams she is me. Even if I am in the dream, I think my mother represents me. She’s usually doing the right thing, while the other me is goofing around or as in last night’s dream, trying to get the scale to work while everyone is waiting in the car to go to the tournament. In the dream from last night she made the decision to not make dinner, but to pick it up on the way — and if I need to cut weight could eat the sandwich after weighing in.

I think she is the authority figure in the dreams (I’ll write more about how I perceive authority figures in my life in a later post) but I don’t seem to have a problem with that — in dreams.

Today is my mom’s birthday. I’m glad she was going to be there to watch me wrestle, but luckily for the team and me, I woke up before I even got to the tournament.

[And just so you know — Mom’s alive and well and even on Facebook]

J. D.

Our wrestling team won first place at a tournament last night — our second first place of the season. We’ve got a great group of boys — they’re all polite to adults, kind to each other and, of course, hard workers.

I’ve posted about J. D. before — after our last tournament win. He’s the guy who just began wrestling this year as our heavyweight. I wrote about how he learned the sport quickly and easily and placed first in his weight class at the first tournament. Well, he did it again last night. He pinned his formidable opponent in a tough match.

But the thing about J. D. — for me anyway — is not his wrestling ability. It is his kindness. It is his huge heart that can be seen in so many little ways — from his hugs when he wins (or when his teammates win) to his words of encouragement to his teammates as well as wrestlers from other teams he’s defeated in previous matches. (I heard him heard shout, “Use your strength!” to a wrestler he’d beaten in a close match earlier in the day who was wrestling for 3rd place on a mat in front of him.)

When a teammate hurt his shoulder, J. D. was happy to hold the bag of ice on the injured shoulder so the teammate could use both hands to eat. When my son won a difficult match, J. D. wrapped his arm around him, and gave him a brotherly hug. He is always giving.  Always.

What I didn’t mention in the last post was the fact that J. D.’s had a tough go of things. He’s being raised by a single mother and now lives in a shelter with her. When I first learned about his housing situation I wondered if they’d be staying in the area or moving soon, as so many of the shelter kids do. I hoped he’d be sticking around, at least through the end of the school year. I hoped that perhaps a college wrestling scout would see him and perhaps offer him a scholarship somewhere. I don’t really know his circumstances, but a scholarship couldn’t hurt, right?

Last night, though, I found out that J. D. is what is called a “5th year senior”. I guess because he’d moved around a lot, he needed more credits to graduate. He was supposed to be able to stay at the school through May and graduate, but now, for some reason, he is being made to graduate in January. That means that after next week he’ll be gone. Gone from the school. Gone from the team. Gone from our lives.

I am angry about this. Not because he was a winner. Not because his leaving might make us more vulnerable to better heavyweights on other teams, but because I will miss him. His personality. His kindness. His caring about everyone — teammates, parents of the teammates, his opponents, his coaches. The world. How could it hurt to let him stay at the school for 5  more months? His leaving will hurt J. D. and everyone whose life he’s touched this year.