A Guide To Wrestling
A Mother's Top Ten Rules of Wrestling
Five years ago, we moved to a different area of town. We moved to a neighborhood where ours was the first house to be built. We did not have neighbors on our street and we were not aware of any children nearby. We were not involved at the local elementary school and did not yet have a new church. As adults, my husband and I could cope but I noticed an alarming new trend with our then seven year old son. He was becoming a couch potato and his favorite activity was Nintendo DS!
At that time, my son attended a private school and his attendance was bound by a contract with the school for the entire school year. We were only two months into that contract. I set out to find activities to make sure my son stayed busy with something other than his Nintendo when he was away from school. I also wanted to help him meet some other kids his age since it would be a while before he could attend the local public school. I called the local park and inquired about activities for children his age. The two things I remember the park staff suggesting were basketball and wrestling. We opted for wrestling. Why? I have no earthly idea why! No one in our house knew a thing about wrestling! What in the world had I been thinking?
Anyway, we started wrestling. I found myself sitting at the local high school in a room the exact size of a wrestling mat. The walls were padded. The room stunk! I soon found out why. A favorite tactic to cut weight was to put the school wrestlers in the room and turn the heat up full blast to assist in the process of shedding some pounds. They did not do this with seven to eleven year olds but the younger kids were the last ones to practice each day and by the time they arrived, the room was ripe! Lesson 1: Bring something with you that smells good so you can smell it from time to time to kill the otherwise overpowering smell of very sweaty teenage boys.
One of the next things I learned was that young girls have nothing on young boys when it comes to crying. Now, that's not to say that all boys will cry because some won't. However, those that do, do so frequently. It seems like they either cry because they lose a lot or they cry when they lose because they rarely lose. Lesson 2: Be prepared for the possibility that your child may cry and may do so frequently! Be prepared to feel like crying with them but know that you must not! If you have a cryer, the goal is to get them to not cry when they lose especially the older they get.
In the sport of wrestling, be prepared for a long learning curve. My son would patiently learn the moves during drills at practice. Unfortunately, when he first began competing, he would abandon what he had previously learned. I finally decided that he was just panicking when the whistle blew. It took many, many talks to get him to understand that what he was taught would work and resorting to panic would likely result in less than desirable results. Lesson 3: If your child is the least bit stubborn or the least bit prone to a deer in the headlights reaction, be prepared to have a lot of talks at home about listening to coaching and relying on skills learned when the whistle blows.
Lesson 4: You must understand that there is the possibility that something inside of you will be unleashed. It might not be pretty either. It will last for the duration of each of your child's matches. Through the years, I have watched other mothers and I know I am "guilty" as well. When your wrestler is on the mat, you may find yourself screaming at the top of your lungs and leaning into the people on either side of you particularly during an intense match. Be sure to sit by someone who won't be offended if you should happen to become unglued during a match. Don't get me wrong, when I do it and when I see others do it, they are not being unsportsmanlike, they are encouraging their wrestler but it does bring out another side to typically reserved people.
If you go to practices and matches regularly, you will learn that wrestling requires a great deal from wrestlers. Wrestlers must possess some of the following traits: strength, conditioning, intelligence, patience, fearlessness, quickness, awareness and knowledge of the sport. The best wrestlers have all of these traits. If they have some of them, they are getting there. Some take to it quicker than others. Others develop at a slower pace. Lesson 5: As a mother, you will also develop in the categories of awareness and knowledge. You will find yourself saying "That arm bar sure worked well for you." or "How come you didn't try the cement move?" It will happen and you will never once have actually done any competitive wrestling yourself.
You should also be prepared to be a wrestling partner for your wrestler. Be warned though...they are not always fair about it. I have been subjected to a "move" so that I can see how it is done. It is not full speed or full strength but having your neck or your arms contorted when you are steadily losing flexibility due to age is somewhat annoying. Lesson 6: The good news is that the older they get, the more aware they are of their strength and they realize that it's better to practice on one of their teammates rather than older family members.
Lesson 7: There is a great deal to learn about wrestling. As a wrestler, you have to know all the moves and there are a lot of them. Wrestlers also need to know the rules and how scoring works among other things. As a mother, you need to learn too because you will understand it much better. We have been a wrestling family for six years now and I am still learning. However, I now find myself answering questions more often than asking them!
Another thing you need to know is that wrestling is an equal opportunity sport. Yes, mothers of boys, there are girls that wrestle. It has been my observation that most boys are mortified if they get beaten by a girl. It will make them work harder. There are more girls at the younger ages. The older the girls get, the fewer there are. Usually, the girls that are competing in middle school are first-time wrestlers that only last one season. There are; however, some girls that are awesome wrestlers. I can think of one in particular that routinely beats very good male wrestlers. She is smart, she is pretty and the boys RESPECT her. Her father will probably never have to worry about his daughter being taken advantage of. Lesson 8: Wrestling is an equal opportunity sport.
Lesson 9: One of the nicest things about wrestling is that it does not require that you take a part-time job to support this sport. While both my son and I love baseball, I cringe when I think of the money I spend on that endeavor. Really for wrestling you need some shoes and headgear. Knee pads are only for those that desire them. Most clubs or teams provide the uniforms. Entry fees for tournaments and matches for both participants and spectators are reasonable and affordable.
The last lesson I intend to impart concerns the dynamics of wrestling as both an individual and a team sport. Lesson 10: Wrestling is both an individual and a team sport. It is an individual sport because a wrestler is on the mat by himself. If he wins, he can take all the credit. But, if he loses, there is no one to point a finger at. At the same time, wrestlers are a close bunch. As individual wrestlers, they can contribute points to their team results by winning their individual match so they have the support of their teammates even when they cannot be there on the mat for them.
I guess that wraps up my top ten rules of wrestling. As a mother, I have learned a great deal about this sport. I have seen my own child develop through the years. If you have a child that expresses interest in this sport, I would recommend you encourage it. I firmly believe that it helps them develop on so many levels both as an individual and as a member of a team. BUT, be sure you remember my top ten mother's rules of wrestling!