True Confessions Of A Wrestling Mom


November 8, 2010 by David Gillaspie

When you date, or get married, you’re probably not thinking about kids right away.


If you are thinking about kids while you date or get married, then you’re probably not thinking about which sport they’ll play best. 


If you’re a wrestler, it’s on the radar.

For a test, count the number of wrestlers in your extended family, cousins and uncles and those guys.  If there’s a lot, ask them when they started wrestling.  They’ll say ‘all my life.’

Raise your hand if you’re the only wrestler in your family.

You know your family had no idea about wrestling. 

You: I’m going out for the wrestling team. 

Parents: What?

I was the first wrestler in my family.  My poor mother’s feelings are still hurt by what the other wrestling moms said to her at her first tournament. 

“Why do they fight so rough?” she said.  “Isn’t that against the rules?  Oh, I can’t look.”

She was watching Robin Richards.  His name even sounds like a super hero. 

Rrrrrrobin Rrrrrricharrrrrds.

He was twisting his guy up pretty good.  He twisted everyone up.  His summer wrestling between junior and senior year built on the Triple Crown he won during the season, state titles in folkstyle, freestyle, and greco.  He added national championships in freestyle and greco, along with the outstanding wrestler’s award from Iowa City.

Then he made the national team and took second in Jr. World Greco.  He went to Japan for the tournament.  Robin Richards was one of the best-traveled guy I’ve known; South Africa, New Zealand, Japan.  If there was a cultural exchange trip to wrestle for, he’d be on it.

As a result of his experience, he wrestled a more international style.  And he knew how to win.

Because he had a long body and short legs, he wrestled a different style to begin with.  His shots were different, his single and double.  He caught a lot of guys off-guard and they flopped around in ways their body had never flopped before. 

He made good wrestlers look bad; he wrestled bad wrestlers in practice to make us better. 

My mom saw what he was doing, finishing a guy with an arm bar and a hook, legs bicycling in desperation, face turning red to purple while Robin sat out, cinching the elbows, looking very patient while the ref took his time slapping the mat.

“Oh, why is doing that to the other boy?”

Robin’s mom sat with the mom-gang in the stands and had heard enough, “If you can’t take it, then go home and stop ruining the tournament for the rest of us.”

That’ll hurt some sensitive feelings, but my mom stayed.  She remembers what Mrs. Richards said to this day.  They were friends, but Mrs. Richards was also the greatest of Wrestling Moms, the standard against which all others are measured. 

She was the standard I measured my Wrestling Mom wife against, for better or worse.

No one loves flowers or makes plants grow better than my wife.  No one loves the environment and the outdoors more than her.  She is the most caring person I’ve ever known.  Ever.  She doesn’t read my posts, so I’m not working the relationship here; this is genuinely someone who makes the world better for being in it.

Then she married me and had two wrestlers.

Her transformation to Wrestling Mom started freshman year and never ended.  Once a Wrestling Mom, always a Wrestling Mom.

She watched her boys move from the JV mats to the state podiums.  She got fired up.  She told other moms, wrestling moms in training, what was going on when they got confused.

Most of all, like all Wrestling Moms, and you know who you are, she saw her boys get beat up; saw them take it, then saw them get better.  Her view of life changed after bearing witness at two day wrestling tournaments.

Today, she sees the importance of wrestling as an individual sport within a team concept.  The threads of team are harder to see when it’s one wrestler against the other, but they show up on the scoreboard. 

I think she means it’s the only sport that caters to the loner and the most popular guy. 

She likes the way wrestling enforces a standard of behavior.  Those are her words.  She said the idea of a ‘learned socialization’ is something everyone needs, but not all get. 

I think she means pecking order, as in step out of line and you’ll find yourself used as a throwing dummy in the next practice.

Most of all, and maybe not so uncommon, she sees wrestling as the most productive sport because of the scheduling. 

I think she means making weight and keeping up with studies.  If you cut weight and you work-out, then go home and read without falling asleep, you’re doing it all.

Guys, give Wrestling Moms their respect.  Help others understand how to take it when Wrestling Mom tells new Wrestling Mom to shut up or go home during the first tournament of the year.  Most likely there’s some serious butt-kicking on the mat she’s focused on.  That always makes for a short fuse.

Wrestling Moms, band together.  Do it for fund raising and volunteering like you always do, but do it in the stands.  Be a unified force.  Dad’s always show up to wrestling matches in Wrestling Dad mode; we’ve seen how far that goes. 

If moms band together like never before, it more than helps the sport.  Wrestling Moms can save wrestling. 

What happens if you accidentally get between a moose calf and its mother?  If you see a moose calf before you see the mom, run for your life.  Chances are good you’re about to get a hole stomped through your back.

Give Wrestling Moms the reins of power in wrestling and they’ll stomp a hole in every back of every person who even thinks about cutting a wrestling program.

They have the power. 

How much? 

Maybe it’s time to find out.

Wouldn’t it be fun to watch foes of wrestling run for their lives with Wrestling Moms in pursuit?


13 thoughts on “True Confessions Of A Wrestling Mom

  1. matmom says:

    I thought I had read all of your wrestling posts, but stumbled across this one this morning. It’s wonderful!! I find it amazing how you manage to say in much fewer words what all of my collective posts are trying to say. I hope your Mom has recovered. I’ve met her a couple of times in the stands…..ok not literally your mother, but other mothers like her. I’m still trying to encourage some of the moms who shy away from meets and tournaments to get their butts in the stands and see what it’s all about. Once they do, it doesn’t take much for them to be a 100% fan.

    • deegeesbb says:

      Hey Matmom, Thanks for the kind words. Keep after the moms and get them at the matches. Be nice to them, but not too nice. You’re the leader of the pack, and if not, ask the leader if they have a blog. That’s the difference maker, lol.

      About breaking posts down to where I want them, I cut a more out. This might sound funny, but the more I’m around, the better it sounds: We all want to be poets and say everything we need to say in as few words as possible. If that’s not possible, write an essay. If that doesn’t get it done, do a short story, then novella, then novel. Eventually you put that chain of events aside and get it done the best you can.

      I doesn’t get any better than that, but you keep rolling to try.

      My Mom still gets revved up about all things wrestling, which is a boost that works for everyone their whole life.

      See you back here soon,


  2. Dawn says:

    Loved the article. I love being a wrestling mom. I’ve been one for going on 10 years. My boys are now 14 and 16 and there is no more pride and joy that comes from watching your sons arm being lifted in victory! There is also no more pain and sorrow when you see them get pinned. It’s a very bitter sweet sport that runs a mothers emotions from high to low and low to high! You not only become emotional for your own child, but for every other kid on the team. I do have a love/hate relationship with wrestling season. It’s long, it’s hard, it’s demanding, both on time, money, resources, driving, etc. but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!! I can’t wait for this years first tournaments and matches!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Dawn,

      You know your boys love their Wrestling Mom. Once you’ve made the jump from your kids to the team, you’re golden. I liked what you said about bittersweet; it eventually gets sweeter. Tell your boys you’ll post their results on DG’s B&B. “Wrestle hard guys, because the wins and losses are going out on a blog.” I’ll make a page for the season.


  3. Tami says:

    Hi Dave! I just to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading your articles today. I replied to the first one I read today about Wrestling Mothers, but then continued to peruse you website. I was intrigued by your insights and parallels between caregiving and wrestling. I am a Wrestling Mom, but also have been a caregiver of my grandfather and currently work in hospice. Your point of view through the eyes of wrestling was spot on. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to linking a few of the families I work with to your website. I am always looking for motivational material to share with he male cargivers I come into contact with. So thank you.
    I am sure I will be back to read more. My son, Zach, started wrestling when he was 5, he is now 14 and starting his Varsity career. It has been a great experience for our entire family. We have made great friends and memories. He and his wrestling friends have taught me a lot about dedication, focus, hard work, passion, how to grow following a defeat, and so much more. Wrestlers (and their families) are of their own breed, and a rare breed at that.

    Thank you again,


    • David Gillaspie says:

      DG’s B&B door is open to wrestling moms and caregivers, and off the hinges for the caregiving wrestling mom. Do show some of the guys the links; I’d have loved reading about a male caregiver doing what I was, but there wasn’t one. You make me proud to post writing that might make a difference.

      If you know how to wrestle, how to care, and how to show kindness, the best room in the place is always free.

      Now make sure your Zach understands the importance of roadwork and hitting the third round with a full tank of gas.

      Good call, Tami,


  4. Tami says:

    I loved your post. I am a proud wreslting mom. I knew I wanted my son to wrestle wen he was still a speck in my imagination – and I didn’t have a single wrestler in my family. Wrestling is the best sport and lifestlye to prepare our boys to become great men.

    I have been a wrestling mom for 9 years (and counting) and proud of it!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Every sports mom could take a lesson from you, Tami. You hit it with “best sport and lifestyle.” How did wrestling find you, or you find wrestling? Did your school have a good team, or a good coach? You’ll be a Wrestling Mom for life, and a Wrestling Grandmother. Wrestling might be the best preparation for boys to become great men, but the moms who join in have the final say. You’ve been saying it for nine years and counting? Be sure to school the new Wrestling Moms. Thanks, Tami/


  5. Kris says:

    Great post!

    When my 26 year old stepson was a sophomore in high school he came home and told us he signed up for wrestling – I didn’t know why – it was the worst sport in the whole world!

    Then the other two sons (who were 10 and 5) at the time decided they wanted to do it and so the story begins.

    The 5 year old is now 16 and wrestled Varsity his Freshman and Sophomore years – now hoping to make it in his Junior year. He made it to Regions here in NJ both years – the first getting pinned right away in his first match and last year coming in 4th – missing Atlantic City by one spot – DANG!

    And yes – I am a wrestling mom.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Kris, yes you are a Wrestling Mom.

      During the current economic times, hand-me downs make all the difference; and wrestling is the unltimate Hand-Me-Down sport. Either that or wrestling in a wrestling household is an act of survival and the real Wrestling Moms let them work it out and plan for new furniture later.

      I expect a wrestling rennaisance on the horizon let by Wrestling Moms.

      If the times feel uncertain, why not build a sense of certainty into our kids? That’s a hand up from the hand me down sport. Day to day improvement in a wrestling room is a view of improvement in real life.

      I loved your sign off. I read it like “My name is Kris. I am a Wrestling Mom.” Wrestling Moms Anonymous? Not any more.


  6. Draven Ames says:

    I accidentally commented before I realized you had more on the bottom. The lady sounds pretty interesting, and your POV on the world is completely different than mine. Finding someone who thinks so differently is interesting, because I get to see the world from another angle. I enjoy your bog and like knowing another author from Portland.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hey Draven,

      Some critiques on books that say all the characters have the same voice and point of view. That’s not good. Different is good, or at least it’s not boring.

      On the fight scene, watch an MMA match and see what happens before someone lands a blow. Unless it’s the dreaded ‘lucky punch or kick’ one guy sets the other up. It’s all about the set up.

      Did you see this,

      Thanks for checking in,


  7. Draven Ames says:

    I know I only wrestled in the Military. I’d like to see what tips you have for writers, describing a fight scene. Nice picture, btw.

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