Sunday, December 23, 2012

"The reward isn't as good without the struggle."

If you have been reading our blog for more than a year then you know during wrestling season, I blog a lot about our time in gyms and the the boys times on the mat.  Neil is well into his first high school wrestling season and it's been quite a journey.  He's a lot like me in the sense of having high expectations for himself.  He is alternating between wrestling on the junior varsity team and the varsity team.  He is undefeated in his JV matches.  He is 1-5 in his Varsity journey.  It has been a bit discouraging to him but he has done his best.  He tends to forget that he has been wrestling for a mere three years while many of these boys have been wrestling since they were toddlers.  I know that sounds like an excuse but we have to paint a realistic picture when he starts to get down on himself.

This past week we headed up the road about thirty minutes to go against one of our rival teams.  The match right before Neil's was pretty intense.  I know he likes to try and stay focused and tune out what is going on around him as he tries to prepare mentally.  The boy his teammate and friend was wrestling is one who Neil had to wrestle many times last year and was beat by him every time.  Neil has wanted a chance to redeem himself.  Well the kid is wrestling a weight class lower so his friend Jaycie got to wrestle him.  It was a tough match with Jaycie pulling out the win.

I know Neil had spent time watching the match so I wondered if he was mentally ready.  He had no idea who the kid was that he was going to wrestle.  When they got on the mat, my first thought was that this kid looked kinda big.  Neil was confident right from the beginning.  It was a lot of hand-fighting and not a lot of time spent on the actual match.  For a novice like myself, it looks like a lot of nothing was going on.  Neil informed me that lots was going on, that it was a tough hand-fight.  I will tell you that the match was quite intense.

At one point, I think the entire gym stood up and was yelling.  I had such tunnel vision that I had no idea what was going on outside of watching Neil.  I couldn't hear anyone around me, I was yelling so loud...I always think the louder I yell, the better Neil will do.  Neil kept fighting until the very end, holding the kid off until the buzzer went off.  Neil won 4-3.  He was so pumped and his coach gave him this huge hug and I cried.  It was so intense.  Neil called his dad and talked to him for a while and then later as we were looking at the roster, we realized that he had just wrestled a senior state qualifier.  How is that for a confidence boost?

Neil was pretty much giddy after that, it made my heart so proud.  His coach posted on Facebook that evening, a message in response to Kevin congratulating the team "Just so you know Neil beat a senior state qualifier tonight. He's improving like crazy!"  This mama was so proud!  The president of our kids club also wrote a really awesome message to a picture I posted.
"The thing about Neil is he's a brawler! The tougher the battle the more he fights. You can't coach that! I saw it the first year when he qualified for state in kids club. Didn't matter that his opponents had more technique, he just fought! That's impressive."

This match was a confidence booster for Neil.  I don't know how he will finish the season but I know that he'll always do his best.   

Great job Neil!

1 comment:

Jen said...

How awesome for Neil!!! :) I know you are so proud.