As I was happily blogging away about my oh-so-wonderful experience last night, I came to a screeching halt when I realized that in order to understand part of my inner struggle as a parent, you needed to know a little background information.
So here it is…
For anyone not keeping up with all the important details of my life, my boys are now 10 (Eddie) and a sneeze away from nine (Henry)–and yes that makes me feel old because when I first started blogging they were 4 & 5…
This year, they’re into sports. Naturally because life is never simple they don’t want to play the same sport. Eddie is into basketball and Henry likes wrestling.
Not so great is that they both lack something very important: athletic ability. I try to be positive with them, but I’m also a realist. When we talk about how great they are, I try to stick with things they really are good at: Your dribbling was awesome today! or Good passing! I try to steer clear of praising his shooting because frankly, I don’t think the boy has ever made a basket. And that’s okay. We’re not all good at sports, and the team needs someone who can dribble the ball down the court–half the kids can’t.
With Henry, it’s different. Wrestling is a one-man team. You either beat your opponent, or put up one heck of a fight losing. He does neither. He loves to go and the child is taller than average and as strong as an ox, but for whatever reason–mainly due to lack of proper technique–he rarely comes out the victor.
I dated a wrestler in high school so I tried to give him some ideas of what to do. He wasn’t having it. He only wanted to hear what the coaches told him to do, not his mom. Most of what they’d told him to in practice was to let some of the other boys do a 2-legged take down on him because of his size compared to theirs. Fine, I get that it’s practice, and in practice in order to learn technique you have to let your opponent win. What they didn’t say was when he could STOP allowing the other boys to beat him. (In defense of the coaches, my child has some genuine hearing problems, so likely, they did and he just didn’t hear it.) So his first few wrestling sessions, he lost every time because he didn’t put up a fight and he wasn’t learning to use the technique OR what could block it.
Unfortunately, all the others kept progressing and he didn’t because of this so when they’d do free wrestling, he’d almost always lose. Well, one of the boys there goes by Reynolds. Now, Reynolds is about the same age, just a little smaller. Of the four boys Henry has ever won against, Reynolds makes up a quarter of them. Now Reynold’s dad has a chip the size of a Ruffles Potato Chip on his shoulder because he saw Henry get taken down by several of the other boys in their age/weight division and told his son he wasn’t allowed to wrestle against Henry anymore that he wasn’t good enough.
When this news traveled back to me that this was said, the coaches honored his request and now my child had to stand out a few rounds to wait for other partners, I reacted like any other mother would: I Facebook messaged an old wrestling friend of mine (not my old flame, I’m not that crazy) and said, “Can I hire you to come teach my son how to wrestle–specifically, I want him to be able to pin this other kid’s ass in front of his dad over and over again?”
Judge me if you want, but hell hath no fury like a Mama Bear!