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