03 February, 2013

End of another wrestling season

Yesterday was the end of the wrestling season for our middle school team. It is a short season: four competitions in just over three weeks. And today we have mixed feelings. Relief that it is over and disappointment too.

Our son is a keen wrestler and has waited all year since last February for this chance. He's sad that the chance to wrestle others his own size might not come up again until December. And in December, he'll be in the high school league, which is a step up in challenge on a number of fronts (more training, more meets, and a higher level of skill needed).

He didn't have the best of days, but he did still pin two
of his four opponents.
I'm sad that it's over, because I really enjoyed watching him wrestle, and watching wrestling in general, actually. It was nerve wracking and stressful, but also a bit addictive.

I did get my act together yesterday and take some cross-stitch to pass the time. It helped in that time between arriving (about 7.20 am yesterday), and the wrestling to begin (about 9). Once the wrestling began and my son's first bout came close, I had to put the cross-stitch away till later because my hands were shaking too much! Really! I get that nervous.

I'm also sad because yesterday he didn't wrestle at his best. Yes, we all have "off" days. But with such a short season, one off-day is big slice of the pie. And in wrestling, if you're up against someone good, you rarely get a second chance if you make a mistake.

But losing has its good points. It is where you learn things you don't learn from winning, including humility, and it can give you the motivation to keep learning.Yesterday was a good reminder of two things he needs to learn:
1. Not to take a good opponent for granted, even if you've beaten him a few times before.
2. It is important to pick yourself up after a disappointment and move into the next bout with a clear mind, otherwise you come into the next bout with a handicap.
That second one reminds me of this book I read about a decathlete. He had to learn the same lesson. Decathlon involve ten vastly different events in a very short space of time. He couldn't allow a "failure" in one to bring him down in the subsequent events. It is a discipline of the sport that our son needs to learned, and probably it can't easily be learned without loss.

I wrote a little about my disappointment on Facebook yesterday. Mostly because I've previously celebrated our son's success there. I don't want to do what many people seem to do on FB, and only write about successes. To me that seems a bit less than honest. I also  hesitated to say I was disappointed, because that may seem to make me a bit of a bad sport. But the disappointed feeling is the truth.

The truth also is that the two guys who beat him didn't let our son get away with having a bad day. They had great days, especially one little guy (who's about 20 pounds/9kg lighter than our son) and is a good wrestler. He's looked very unhappy the last two meets when he was beaten by our son and JK (see this post about the rivalry between our son and JK). But yesterday he triumphed and looked so happy. I'm glad for his success (his mum was there too, which is something special for them both).

Oh, and if you're wondering, the camaraderie that we saw last week (see the above link) was still there yesterday. I loved seeing it! Just before we left, of of the opposing team wrestlers came up and told us he'd found our son's beloved green beanie (woollen hat), and returned it to one of the other team members. We didn't know it had been lost, but were very glad it was returned. The atmosphere was one of friends parting.

But we're all glad to be getting some more free time back. Our son is looking forward to more after-school free time. And we're looking forward to free-er Saturdays.

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