14 January, 2016

Wrestling at CAJ last night

Well, it was wrestling again last night. This time a treat: an at-home dual*. Not only is there no commute for a home meet, but more people from school come. On Saturday we were just a small island of supporters, four sets of parents and a team of about 15 wrestlers, two coaches, four managers, and a handful of siblings (but a lot bigger than the Queensland team at the Australian National Championships last year). Oh, and there were two alumni team members (they wrestled for CAJ two years ago as seniors).

But last night, we had other members of the school community come, and it was wonderful. I talked and talked and talked about wrestling.

Last night I also spent a lot of time explaining rules and scoring to people around me. I can't believe I've ended up something of a minor expert‽

But I also had a headache, one that started at lunchtime and got worse as the day went on. By 9.30, after we got home, I crashed. Good thing, because that much adrenaline can be bad for getting to sleep! The other good thing was that David didn't have a headache, because he stayed up until 11 with our middle son while he finished an assignment due today (grrrr).

Wrestling is exhausting. I'm talking about me here. It is gut-wrenching to watch. Never mind that this sport is so strenuous that that each wrestler only has two-three minute periods to win or lose. Spectating isn't for wimps. The match starts out with a handshake and a whistle, then what looks like girls on a playground reaching out to one another trying to get an advantageous hold. Then suddenly they're lurching this way and that, one wrestler is underneath, then the other with not even a breath in between. The opponent is scoring points too fast and you're shouting "be careful" or your wrestler is on top and you're screaming "that's it, you can do it", then it reverses again and they're on the bottom. The speed can be tremendous. Three referees watch the two competitors, because there's so much to see.

Then you look at the score and there's only 30 seconds left, and the points aren't going your way and you yell again. My heart is out there on the mat, and I can't but help holding my breath as he grapples and strains and manoeuvres. The worst for a parent is when you see your child in a position where he or she is about to be pinned (shoulder blades both on the mat).

Our son seems to be skilled at looking like he's in trouble when he really isn't, or maybe only just a little. He's a magician at getting out of tricky spots. One of the other dads of the team said they find him hard to watch because so often he looks like he's about to go down and then he suddenly reverses it. It happened numerous times last night and he only wrestled for less than four minutes. I'm a little bit used to it because it happens so often, but still the stress gets at you!

It isn't just the watching of the wrestling, it is the anticipation of what is to come, the hours leading up to it can be worse than watching. Excitement coloured by nervousness of what I'm about to witness. I'm generally far more nervous than him. 

Our son getting set-up for his final move that won, a leg-lace,
where you grasp your opponent's legs and roll them over 360 degrees,
getting two points every time you do so. He did it twice and gained a margin of
10 points over his opponent and won the match.

I really wish I could find a chill pill for this sickness. A win brings with it an adrenaline rush. That's the addictive side. A loss brings a rush of disappointment. On a whole I feel like I'm on a rocky boat, all the time trying to keep a calm demeanour so that other people don't know how truly sick I am. A mother addicted to watching wrestling!?!

Our team did really well last night, it is always great to follow the team through the season and see the wrestlers, particularly the newer ones, improve in confidence and skills. Oh, and our son won too. Not in his preferred way (a pin), but he won. Possibly more important, he (and the rest of the league) has been given a 2-pound allowance meaning he only has to be 150 pounds (68kg) before a meet, not 148. That is closer to the weight he was prior to the season starting, so less stressful for us all.

What I'm again loving is the camaraderie with other wrestling mums (see my previous post called Wrestling Mums Club). We can commiserate about the agonies of watching our boys try to keep their weight down and suffering their moods. We can celebrate wins together and support one another when our kids lose. And we can talk about those more intimate things that we can't believe we're having to have conversations with our kids about . . . I could give you an example, but I don't want to embarrass anyone here.

Next meet is in two sleeps and it's another big one with two key differences: nine schools instead of fourteen and the venue is less than an hour away instead of two hours. Can't wait.

*A dual is when two teams go up against one another: each weight class in turn. So our team's 148 wrestler vs their 148 wrestler. Last Saturday was an individual tournament where all the wrestlers were grouped into their weight classes and wrestled off against one another. 

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