My son isn’t happy with the comment from Coach Mica. How can that be possible all the blood sweat and tears in dedicated practices, the undefeated preseason accomplishments and well into the third week of the official season and that’s it…”everyone looses in wrestling?” The ride home was a solemn one but gradually by late evening his spirit forgot the defeat just for a moment as he conjured up a joke. The following afternoon, he was back on the mat with his team members learning from the moves that took some of them down and participating in agility drills and games—always thrillingly engaging for the children. Wrestling is truly a humbling sport because when you loose, yep it’s your loss. Alone…no one to blame just you and the other guy…the one that stripped away your pride with his much deserved victory. A victory that sometimes transpires in a matter of seconds and leaves you there in utter despair for what I would imagine feels like forever. I have heard young boys in singlets, sometimes not even on his team, say “it’s okay, I lost six matches so far.” While these words were sputtered from a six-year-old trying to truly perk up the battered one, it wasn’t long before his turn on the mat where tears streamed from his large compassionate eyes. It’s easy to say it to the desolate soul who just lost, however, until you have been there to feel the defeat you just don’t know. I can’t even imagine gearing up in a singlet and being so fierce at every second…one false move and it’s your turn to fumble the match. I don’t know if I would be able to muster up such courage, in fact, children are corralled into it not truly knowing what to expect for that reason—who in their right mind would sign up for this inclemency? There are all kinds of motivational influences that lure children into this situation. Some are there in hopes of living out their father’s I-could-have-been-a-contender dream. Others for more noble reasons, for the discipline and the knowledge of defending oneself or maybe in hopes of a scholarship. At this tender age their naïve minds have no idea the possibilities their potential can take them. So how does a parent delicately placate a child like mine who is complacent with heading back to the nest after school?
Encouraging children to find that one passion of theirs especially in a sport where they can work together as a team, amplify each others’ spirits or simply being comforted by their comrades by their side through the ups and the downs can be tricky. And yes there will be a lot of downs…take downs, grueling leg locks and intense neck cranks. It’s a marauding lesson of the good, the bad and the insanely exciting aspects of life. I know my little man has not found wrestling to be the one thing that ignites that spark inside of him, the one thing that can channel him to a zone where everything around him stand stills, but he doesn’t feel much passion for a single thing yet. We do things that we think are best for our little fledglings. Yes, it’s better than wasting the entire afternoon watching the tube or playing video games. Yes, there’s a positive health aspect to wrestling by raising the cardio level up a few notches, but really what I love most about wrestling is the building of his character. There is no other place than his gym with his amazing coaches to help my little man along the way. In a lot of cases, he will listen to his teachers but not care what I have to say. So this is a grand ole thanks to ALL his teachers and coaches in hopes of building a humble, yet confident little man. To see how Mark Munoz escaped the undercurrents of his younger years to become a better person for himself and his family—I couldn’t ask for a better mentor for both my boys. I can only hope they grow up to be not only strong and resilient like their father and like Coach Mark, but also empathetic and compassionate for everything and everyone. I know my son is afraid of loosing, so that means if he doesn’t have to hit the mat, then all is good. We all have struggles to overcome, as longs as we don’t entitle fear to stifle us; we can forge on and make some kind of prolific good in our life. In the meantime, my son will continue to lour while at tournaments. The deal is until he can defeat the old man, he will be on the mat learning all there is to know about life. So there it is, the dilemma in my nest…a young man with a long journey ahead of him and an uncertain future, I can only hope.